Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama wants to know, if the state were to create a lottery, would this be the beginning of Las Vegas-style casino gambling in the area? The governor wrote a letter to the Alabama Supreme Court to ask that very question, trying to determine what he is calling an important question in regards to the state constitution.
Bentley is digging in to the subject of lottery and casino gaming due to the fact that there are lottery bills currently in the special session of state legislature. Alabama must find a solution for the $200 million gap in the state budget. In Alabama, the constitution has a ban on gambling in every county but a few. Macon offers bingo based on an amendment to the constitution added a few years ago.
Bentley asked the following to the Alabama Supreme Court judges:
“Would an amendment of Article IV, section 65 of the Alabama Constitution to grant the Legislature power to authorize only a state operated lottery, result in removal of the existing general ban on gambling or gaming activities in the state and thus, result in legalizing Class III or other casino style gaming in the state with or without further legislative act?”
The governor would like to see clarification on a higher level when it comes to the activity, especially if legislature passes one of the lottery bills. If a bill was to be passed and the public voted yes to the lottery, Bentley wants to ensure the state would not be opened up to casino-style gambling. Governor Bentley has stated he is not in support of such gambling, however he feels that the public should have the right to vote on the issues and the lottery seems to be the popular choice among residents.