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While there is a Bill in legislature that would regulate the electronic bingo gambling taking place in Alabama, the governor of the state has continued on his mission to crack down on the establishments currently offering the electronic machines.
Governor Robert Riley set up a Task Force on Illegal Gambling to try and stop what he believes is illegal gambling operations. In the past week, a judge has ruled that one of the Task Force raids was done illegally, and ordered the state to give back over 100 machines.
The judge also ruled that the gambling hall could resume operations without fear of law enforcement interference in the future. That has prompted the governor to have to fight the ruling in the higher courts, and that will require money.
On Thursday, legislators approved spending $250,000 of taxpayer money on private lawyers to defend the Task Force. The lawyers had already received two short term contracts worth $150,000 from the state, and now the total bill will be $400,000.
This all in an effort to prove that the Task Force is operating legally and that they have the right to raid these gambling locations. The gambling issue has become somewhat of a personal vendetta for Riley, and for some Alabamians, enough is enough.
“The people of Alabama are trying to figure out how to keep their lights and water on, and the governor and the state apparently has extra money to give to lawyers representing this gambling task force,” said observer Walter Hix, “something just doesn’t seem right about that.”
Thousands of Alabamians are struggling due to the state of the economy. Lawmakers are considering raising taxes in order to balance the budget, and then comes news of $250,000 in additional funds being spent to represent the Task Force.
If the legislature passes a Bill currently in the Senate, there would be no more need for the Task Force. Electronic bingo machines would become regulated and taxed, so the timing of the money for the lawyers seems awkward to some.
“If they (legislators) are discussing regulating and taxing these machines that the task force is trying to crack down on, then why give that kind of money ($400,000) to lawyers,’ said observer Bridgette Heruka, “I’m sure some of the people of Alabama could find better things to do with that money.”