Some rather vote on bingo law, others side with Gov. Riley

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Friday's electronic gambling raids have prompted Alabamians to debate whether the game should be legal or illegal. The issue has never come up for a vote in Alabama, but some people think it should.

At this time, there is a bill in Montgomery to legalize electronic gambling, but first, Alabama lawmakers would have to pass a consitutional amendment calling for a vote.

UAB political analyst, Dr. Larry Powell, said it is very possible the state could see a referendum on electronic bingo. However, he said it would be hard to predict what would happen in the election.

"Right now I would say the pro-gaming interest would lead 60-40," said Dr. Powell, "But, if they were to call an election, as the election gets closer, I think it would get tight. Whether it would pass or fail would be 50-50."

Opponents like Citizens for a Better Alabama claim electronic gambling is immoral, and think it has a negative impact on the community. Supporters say it should be legal, because it would bring in additional money to the state. Birmingham-area residents have mixed opinions.

"I think it should be allowed and legal," said Scott Chastain. "The state should be making money off it."

"From a Christian standpoint, I don't approve of gambling," said Morgan Smith, "But like everything else, the individual has to decide what they want to do. I guess it is okay as long as they aren't hurting somebody else."

"I think the best solution is let people vote," said Dax Whitfield, "Let the people decide if it is right or wrong."

Dr. Powell said he doesn't think the issue is going away anytime soon.

"I think you will see it will keep up," said Dr. Powell, "We may or may not have a referendum. It will be a hard fought one, and it may lose again."