Rev. Jesse Jackson in Fairfield today for bingo rally

Rev. Jesse Jackson at a bingo rally Thursday night in Tuskegee, Ala. (WSFA video)
Rev. Jesse Jackson at a bingo rally Thursday night in Tuskegee, Ala. (WSFA video)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - The Rev. Jesse Jackson will be in Fairfield today to participate in a rally supporting electronic bingo in Alabama.

Jackson met Thursday with Gov. Bob Riley and Alabama Attorney General Troy King. After those meetings, he told reporters the recent raids on electronic bingo halls by the governor's anti-gambling task force need to stop.

"The thing of coming back here on the 45th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, of using state troopers to raid, that is a very dangerous proposition," Jackson said. "Someone could get hurt or even worse. We should move state troopers out of this equation."

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor joined Jackson and dozens of VictoryLand workers at a rally Thursday night in Tuskegee where they discussed Saturday's bingo march in downtown Montgomery. Jackson said he believes the raids are hurting thousands of people who need the jobs offered by the casinos.

"We will meet and march until something happens," Jackson said. "Stop the raids now. You are rally marching for your house right now. You are marching for your car note. You are marching for your child to stay in school. This is your march."

Supporters of electronic bingo lost a battle Wednesday to get a statewide vote on the issue. The Alabama Senate failed to pass the so-called "Sweet Home Alabama" bill, an amendment that would have allowed for a statewide vote on electronic bingo. Senators said Thursday they don't think the bill will come up again before the week-long spring break begins March 15th, but they sayd if it does, changes are likely.

"I think there needs to be a simple bingo constitutional amendment that votes, 'do you want it or or do you not want it?' said Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma.

"The Democratic leadership has said that gambling is dead," said Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale. "I doubt very seriously that that's true. I can't imagine with all the influence that gambling has over them that they're just going to let this go away."

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