Bingo battle hits the Alabama Senate

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC)- A bingo battle starts in the Alabama State Senate Tuesday. Senators will debate a constitutional amendment which will legalize electronic bingo gaming. If passed it would set up a statewide gaming commission, establish ten locations including all state dog tracks and tax the proceeds at 25%, 20% going to the state and 5% to the counties.
The Senate is split over the constitutional amendment. "It doesn't appear it has simple majority of the Senate. I think it's a bad bill. It does not have the chance to pass the Senate," said Senator Steve French of Birmingham.
Birmingham Senator Rodger Smitherman says talks are underway to negotiate enough support for the bill. Smitherman says voters should decide the issue. "Anytime you have this many people being put out of work, it's an economic issue. It's not about bingo but the jobs, the families involved," Smitherman said.
Meanwhile, Gov. Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling is going after all every electronic bingo hall in the state. State Representative John Rogers of Birmingham, the head of the legislative black caucus, says a letter will be sent tomorrow to Alabama Attorney General Troy King questioning the authority of the task force. "If he could do that, he could say I want a task force to raid every home in the state of Alabama, because I believe they are doing something illegal in these houses," Rogers said.
The Alabama Senate will meet three straight days this week.