As expected, the Alabama Senate took up debate on Sen. Del Marsh’s gambling bill, SB214, today. None of the senators who spoke offered any opposition to the bill, only compliments to the sponsor and suggesting “minor tweaks” to the bill. As promised, Sen. Marsh moved to “carry over” the bill until February 23 when the legislators return from a planned break.
Much of the discussion today focused on the “beneficiaries” of the gambling money. The bill (as it currently reads) calls for farmers to get money, broadband to be provided in rural areas, junior college, vocational schools and four-year colleges to get scholarship money, prisons, rural hospitals, and a host of other “beneficiaries” to receive part of the “pie.” What was never discussed is from where all that money will come, but I can tell you! — The money will come from the pockets of losers (and most of those will be among the poorest citizens of our state)! Citizens who live in upscale neighborhoods and make a lot of money will not be buying enough lottery tickets or gambling enough money away at casinos to pay for all the things the bill says the gambling money will support. Also, the amount of money that gambling will generate is a “pipe dream”! It is not a sustainable amount of revenue year-after-year.
The bill also calls for 5 casinos around the state (one of which will be a new one owned and operated by the Poarch Creek Indians in Northeast Alabama), but senators lined up to argue why their own districts should have casinos, as well. The sponsor responded that the proposed “Gaming” (a.k.a., Gambling) Commission would be able to add two additional casinos at their discretion, for a total of SEVEN casinos all over the state!
Most of the people who gamble at casinos live within a 50-mile radius of the casino, so that means most of the money these casinos bring in will come from the citizens of Alabama! The $700M the Governor’s Gambling Study Committee said in their report that would come from state-sanctioned casinos and a state-sponsored lottery will be coming from the citizens of Alabama! It may be a “voluntary tax,” but it is a tax that is based on DECEPTION! (Gambling bosses promise everyone that they will “strike it rich,” but the games are rigged in favor of the casinos and the state always gets their “cut of the lottery money.” Gambling is FRAUDULENT at its root!) And, as mentioned earlier, it will not continue to bring in the dollars they promise! Gambling never does! (Remember how the Birmingham Racetrack promised that the Birmingham City Schools would never want for money if the people of Jefferson County would just vote to legalize horse racing?!)
The senators kept repeating that their constituents want to vote on gambling, but how many of those people will understand what they are deciding? They will only hear and read what the casino bosses, the tribal gambling bosses and the lottery management companies want them to hear and read. Opponents will not have the financial resources to communicate the true story of how gambling destroys economies, how it destroys businesses and how it destroys families.
Sen. Marsh said he was carrying over the bill until they return on February 23, so the senators could hear from their constituents. WELL, LET THEM HEAR FROM YOU!!! CONTACT YOUR ALABAMA STATE SENATOR THIS WEEK AND TELL HIM/HER TO VOTE “NO” ON SB214!!! WE NEED TO FLOOD THEIR PHONE LINES AND EMAILS WITH OUR VOICES OF OPPOSITION!!! Click here, enter your zip-code and scroll down to find your Alabama State Senator. If we don’t contact them, we will not be able to stop the construction of casinos in our communities and the local convenience stores will have people lined up to buy lottery tickets EVERY DAY (not just when there is a large, multi-state jackpot)!!! Small businesses will suffer because people will be gambling away their money and not buying goods and services; sales tax revenue will plummet, hurting local governments and the Alabama Education Trust Fund Budget, which gets $.04 out of every sales tax dollar; Medicaid rolls will increase because people are gambling instead of providing for their family’s healthcare needs; and taxes will be raised on all of us (even non-gamblers) in order to cover the deficits. This won’t happen immediately, but it will eventually take place.
Also, pro-gambling forces will come back to the State Legislature every year wanting to expand gambling because “the original games just aren’t bringing in as much as we thought and promised.” And, what about all those groups that were promised a “piece of the pie”? They will not get what they were promised and they will begin to struggle to make ends meet. If you doubt me, look at states such as New Jersey, Illinois and California. These states have a huge amount of gambling, and yet they have some of the highest taxes in the nation (not to mention that they are perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy)! For more information on the gambling issue, read the document I presented to the Governor’s Gambling Study Committee last summer and/or watch the video I produced last fall. Also, check out the links at our website (www.ALCAP.com), and especially the Stop Predatory Gambling website (www.StopPredatoryGambling.org).