Some groups want more casinos in Alabama gaming proposal

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Updated: Feb. 18, 2021 at 10:51 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A recent gaming proposal in the state Legislature would create a lottery and five casinos in the state.

The proposal would allow casino-style games at five counties.

Proposed casino sites in Alabama
Proposed casino sites in Alabama(wsfa)

However, smaller bingo operators like Center Stage Bingo and White Hall Entertainment Center are not happy with the recent gaming proposal.

“It’s such an obvious exclusion, that our whole corner of the state, is completely omitted from this economic development package,” said Melody Lee, who represents Center Stage Bingo.

Lee said this leaves some local communities to miss out on thousands of dollars for local economies.

“So we’re talking thousands of jobs potentially that that are going to be lost if an amendment is not created that includes our area,” Lee said.

Sharon Wheeler said the proposal undermines the voice of those in Lowndes county.

“We don’t think it’s fair to shut down something that’s been in operation for two decades, it’s not fair to to eliminate these jobs and a very poor minority area,” Wheeler said.

Bill sponsor Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, has said the number of casinos in the state “should be capped because the people of the state want a finite number. They don’t want this wide open.”

Marsh said he is open to adding two more casinos and allowing a new gaming commission to decide where they are located.

Smaller operators are not fully on board with the idea.

“I would be much more comfortable personally, if we could just through an amendment be added,” Lee said.

Marsh says they will receive polling data from constituents on how many casinos they want and where Alabamians want the tax revenue to go.

If state lawmakers passed the gambling legislation, it would go to the people for a vote.

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