Marsh’s lottery and casino bill falls two votes short in Alabama Senate

Greene County citizens who went to a rally at the State Capital steps in Montgomery on Tuesday against March’s Lottery and Casino Bill.

The Alabama State Senate voted Tuesday by 19 to 13 to defeat Del Marsh’s Lottery and Gambling bill. The bill since it was a Constitutional Amendment required a 60% majority – 21 votes to pass. The bill fell two votes short on this attempt. Marsh’s bill included a statewide lottery and five casinos. The five were the Mobile Greyhound Track, Victoryland in Macon County, Birmingham Racecourse and Greenetrack; as well as a new site in northeast Alabama near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Marsh amended his bill to add a casino near Dothan in Houston County and Senator Bobby Singleton amended the bill on the floor to add and Whitehall Enterprises in Lowndes County. Two Black State Senators were out for sickness at yesterday’s session, Senator Malika Sanders Fortier of Selma and Senator Priscilla Dunn of Bessemer, who may have voted for the bill, especially after it was amended to include the Whitehall facility, which is in Lowndes County, in Fortier’s district. These two additional votes would have given the proposal the necessary 60% majority vote for passage. Another looming challenge facing gaming in Greene County comes from legal actions against “electronic bingo” by Steve Marshall, Alabama Attorney General, who feels that bingo machines are equivalent to illegal slot machines. The Attorney General’s efforts are backed by decisions of the Alabama Supreme Court which are unfavorable to electronic means of playing bingo. Marsh’s bill would have legalized gambling at only certain recognized places in the state and invalidated Marshall’s efforts.

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