Dothan, AL – Two rallies were held yesterday in Montgomery at the State House for activists, concerned citizens, gambling, and anti-gambling supporters as the legislature was debating gaming legislation concerning electronic bingo.
Governor Bob Riley teamed with the Citizens for a Better Alabama, a families advocate group and lobbying organization, to head up the first rally and speak out against gambling specifically against electronic bingo machines. The First Lady, Patsy Riley, was with the governor at the podium.
The rally that followed primarily consisted of hundreds of unemployed workers from County Crossing, an entertainment complex near Dothan, and Victoryland, a greyhound track and bingo casino in Macon County, and electronic bingo supporters who wanted the right to vote on whether or not gambling should be allowed in the state.
Jay Walker, a spokesman for Country Crossing, issued a response on Wednesday and commented on Riley’s rally.
“Yesterday, Governor Riley put his wife, preachers and other public officials into a political environment, a place where a peaceful protest of the governor’s intimidation tactics was in full display,” said Walker. “The good people of Alabama that disagree with Riley’s opinions are not the thugs he and some religious groups want you to think they are; they are concerned and upset citizens – mothers and fathers who have been put out of work by the governor’s ridiculous stance on bingo – mothers and fathers who have children to feed.”
Between 1,500 and 2,000 people were left unemployed when Country Crossing closed in January to prevent a raid from the governor’s anti-gambling task force.
Walker continued to say that Riley constantly tries to muddy the debate with statements about the “law” when the law clearly states electronic bingo is allowed under certain amendments.
“This debate is simple: Governor, are you going to let the people vote to allow private operators to have electronic bingo so the state can tax, regulate and limit these operations the same way you insisted on a vote for the largest tax increase in Alabama History?” he asked.
“Riley’s insistence on shutting down private operators is allowing the Native Americans in Alabama and Mississippi an absolute monopoly, and our state will never see one red cent of revenue from them.”
Article by Melissa Parker
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