Lawmakers propose statewide gambling vote

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Some state lawmakers say Alabama voters should decide if they want to do away with all forms of gambling.

Gardendale Sen. Scott Beason is proposing a statewide vote to see if all types of gambling should be stopped in Alabama. Sen. Hank Erwin, R-Montevallo, said he plans to co-sponsor Beason's constitutional amendment.

"It will eliminate all forms of games of chance, gambling, bingo and dogs forever in Alabama," Erwin said.

Other lawmakers says this idea faces an uphill fight in Montgomery.

"He has as much chance to pass that as a snowball in H-E-double two sticks," Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, said.

Rogers is a long time proponent of gambling. Rogers says with drastic budget cuts coming now is not the time to say no possible new taxes on gambling.

"I think we need a constitutional amendment to legalize casino gaming in this state and bring in the big boys and have a statewide gaming commission," Rogers said.

Joyce Fisher, an employee who works at  the Riverside Casino in Wetumpka, agrees with Rogers.

"We will lose jobs," Fisher said. "We will lose revenue. Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are praying we don't get casino gambling or a lottery."

Other  voters believe the state could benefit from gambling dollars.

"Education for one," Jennifer Trimble said. "Help with taxes in the city. I think it with so much."

But, gambling opponents strongly disagree.

"Nothing good is going to come out of it," Trey Hamm said. "It's causing problems all over. Crime, people throwing their money away. It makes the area look seedy."

"It keeps people broke," Murleen Simon said. "They are spending their first check. Third check money. Work money. It's no good."