After the failure of a comprehensive gambling package that would have created an enforcement arm to crack down on illegal gambling, Attorney General Steve Marshall is calling on local officials to enforce the state's preexisting restrictions.

The 2024 legislative session was dominated by gambling. The debate and feud between the House and Senate over the proposed legislation led to much tension and gridlock in the legislative process. The package ultimately failed after not receiving sufficient Senate support, much to the chagrin of House members who claimed the legislation was the best solution to the rampant illegal gambling in Alabama.

SEE: Speaker Ledbetter: 'We're going to see probably an expansion of more illegal gambling'

In a recent appearance on 93.1 "News & Views with Joey Clark," Marshall, who opposed the gambling legislation, placed the legal onus of enforcing the state's gambling prohibitions on local law enforcement, who he claimed often refuse to prosecute or arrest illegal gambling operators.

"There's no doubt that we've got active cases involving multiple jurisdictions and multiple facilities where we're continuing to try to shut down those that are illegal," Marshall said. "What we need to make sure is that local officials do their job when they find these illegal facilities."

Marshall used Jefferson County as an example of local authorities refusing to prosecute illegal gambling.

SEE: Gambling with the Public Trust: Jefferson Co. Sheriff Pettway long neglected responsibility to close illegal bingo halls

"When we had Mike Hale as the sheriff there, there were no illegal operations going on," Marshall continued. "You had a new sheriff that came in that said, 'gambling's not going to be a priority for me.' And what happened? You saw these facilities open up. I do think local law enforcement has a responsibility along with local prosecutors. But also, as the attorney general, my job is also to be able to weigh in. I think you're going to continue to see us go after these illegal operations, but we'll also continue to make sure that local officials are aware of any information that we have and remind them of their responsibility to do the same."

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