commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

The Dogs mother talks about Gambling in Alabama……and the race for Governor goes silent…..

A state trooper stands inside VictoryLand in Shorter, Ala., in January. The gaming complex, which employed 1,600, closed to avert a raid by the state task force.

[ A state trooper stands inside VictoryLand in Shorter, Ala., in January. The gaming complex, which employed 1,600, closed to avert a raid by the state task force. ]

My mother …who’s in her eighties …lives in Mobile, Alamaba….and while I was talking to here this afternoon…I asked here if there was anything going on down there  that I could write about on the Dog……

She got quiet for a moment…she said she had stopped looking at the news because she wanted to stop yelling at the TV….we both laughed…..

They she remarked…..Gambling….she went on to say people in that city where hot about the crack down on gambling……I asked her about what kind of gambling…..and she told me Casino’s……

Well …the Dog has done some sniffing around and found this……..

The VictoryLand gambling complex in this town of 375 is Macon County’s largest employer and biggest taxpayer. It has helped pay for police cars and raises for county employees.

In Alabama, slot machines are illegal — but thousands of people for years have played machines that seem identical to slots. The state long ignored it. “That’s one of the things that’s puzzling to a lot of people,” says Bradley Moody, associate professor of political science at Auburn University-Montgomery. “If this is a moral issue for Gov. Riley, why wasn’t it morally unacceptable in, say, February 2003?” Riley was elected in 2002.

Chickasaw, a city of 6,000, opened a bingo casino in February. The task force raided it the same day. Mayor Byron Pittman says plans called for 500 machines generating $4 million a year for the city, more than doubling its annual budget. He says the city wanted to spend the money on a 50% increase of the police force and other improvements.

Things may get ugly down there before this is over…..

The fight over gambling in Alabama has a rich, layered story: the governor and his wife being shouted down by gambling supporters in Montgomery; the first head of the gambling task force resigning in January after acknowledging that he won $2,300 at a Mississippi casino; the specter of an armed confrontation between one defiant county sheriff and his deputies and the task force.

Now, in the worst recession in generations, VictoryLand is shuttered. Its 1,600 employees are trying to get unemployment checks and planning to protest Saturday against the actions that cost them their jobs, says Marlin King, 31, of nearby Tuskegee, out of work for just over a month. “We don’t know what this is all about, what’s legal and what’s not,” he says. “We’re just hoping it’ll reopen.”

VictoryLand is embroiled in an intense battle over gambling in Alabama. The state’s lame-duck governor,Republican Bob Riley, began a crackdown on illegal gambling 15 months ago. He declared that thousands of gambling devices — electronic bingo machines — in 16 of the state’s 67 counties are actually slot machines, which are illegal in Alabama.

His Task Force on Illegal Gambling launched raids on casinos. VictoryLand closed to avert one. Local elected officials such as Macon County Commission Chairman Louis Maxwell, whose budgets rely on gambling, say their machines are legal.

Attorney General Troy King, a Republican, says the task force should stop the raids and get court rulings declaring electronic bingo illegal in each county instead of risking “harm to law enforcement or the public with further warrantless raids.”

Nonsense, says John Tyson, head of the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling and Mobile County district attorney. “These are slot machines, and slot machines are illegal,” says Tyson, a Democrat.

Only one of Alabama’s four largest non-Indian casinos, Greentrack in Greene County, remains open. Greene County Sheriff Ison Thomas has said that bingo machines there are legal and that he won’t allow a raid by the task force.

Tyson says Thomas “does raise the specter” of an armed confrontation. “I hope it doesn’t get to the point where we have to arrest another law enforcement officer,” he says.

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley speaks over the jeers of a crowd in favor of bingo on the Statehouse steps in Montgomery on Feb. 23.

[ Alabama Gov. Bob Riley speaks over the jeers of a crowd in favor of bingo on the Statehouse steps in Montgomery on Feb. 23. ]

All of this plays against the states Governor’s race…..which is entering its last months….

From Steve Flowers @ atmoreadvance…..

With all the furor created by our outgoing governor over electronic bingo, the fact that we have a governor’s race has flown completely under the media’s radar screen.

However, this is a premier governor’s race because it is the first gubernatorial contest without an incumbent governor on the ballot in over two decades. The contest has now been ongoing for close to a year.

As early as seven months ago I foolhardily predicted the winners and losers in the 2010 Governor’s Race. With just three months until the June 1 primary, I stand by my prognostications.

If you recall, in early August of 2009 I told you that Bradley Byrne and Tim James would be the top contenders in the Republican primary and that they would eventually be pitted in a GOP runoff to face Democrat Artur Davis in November. I stand solidly behind that scenario. My prediction at that time was based on intuition. Today’s confirmation prognosis is based on fact.

Tim James is the comer in this contest. Byrne was pegged as the early favorite but it is going to be a horserace between these two conservatives. James, the son of former Governor Fob James, is personable and telegenic.

On the Democratic side, Congressman Artur Davis transferred $1 million from his congressional war chest and raised another $1 million. His challenger in the Democratic primary, Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, only raised about $165,000. Whether Sparks has any money or not may be irrelevant. This race may be closer than expected. Sparks will benefit from the George Wallace admonition that more folks vote against someone than for someone.

March 5, 2010 - Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Crime, Entertainment, Family, Government, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Travel, Updates, Women | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] The Dogs mother talks about Gambling in Alabama……and the race for … […]

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