On Wednesday, the Eagle Forum announced that it was part of a grassroots anti-gambling coalition. This coalition opposes the inclusion of controversial gambling legislation in the coming special session and urges Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) to agree not to call legislators in for a gambling special session.
There will be a 2022 special session to appropriate an additional $1.2 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds that the state has received from the federal government.
The anti-gambling coalition is concerned about a statement that Ivey made to 1819 News, expressing regret that gambling legislation did not pass during the 2022 Alabama Regular Session.
“I was disappointed that they did not get the gambling bill passed,” Ivey told 1819 News. “Not that I am so much for gambling, but I do think the people of Alabama ought to have the right to make that decision. I wish that had passed the legislature so that people could vote it up or down in November.”
The new anti-gambling coalition claimed, “That statement is a clear indicator that Ivey might be inclined to add consideration of gambling legislation into a previously planned 2022 summer special session.”
It was reported that $1.5 million of “dark money” was recently contributed to Governor Ivey’s re-campaign for governor.
Various media outlines, including 1819 News, have not yet been able to discover where the money originated.
“It has been rumored that at least half of that money was donated by pro-gambling,” the anti-gambling coalition claimed. “Additionally, [Poarch Band of Creek Indians, or PCI] never stopped advocating or advertising for gambling expansion, even though the regular legislative session ended April 8th. Gov. Ivey may be getting pressure from political donors, from PCI and the illegal gambling cartel.”
A spokesperson for PCI told 1819 News that they have not contributed to the Ivey campaign.
The anti-gambling coalition postulated that gambling could be included in a summer special session “due to the fact that, as an Alabama Constitutional Amendment, the legislation would require passage and adjournment by August 24th to be included on the November 8th ballot.”
If a gambling bill is not included on the Nov. 8 ballot, the next general election ballot will be Nov. 2024.
The gambling bill that was introduced during the 2022 special session created as many as eight casino monopoly regions in the state, including one in northeast Alabama that does not exist yet. It also created a lottery, a sports book and ordered the governor to enter into a compact with the PCI that had not even been negotiated yet. That bill had so little support in the legislature that it never came to the floor of either House of the Legislature for a vote. The last time the voters of the state voted on a lottery it was soundly rejected.
Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Glenn Murdock stated, “Our founders understood how destructive gambling is for families and communities and included a blanket prohibition against it in Alabama’s constitution. As a legal and practical matter, if that clause is removed from our constitution to allow a lottery, it will open the door to all forms of Las Vegas-style gambling throughout Alabama.”
“We call on Gov. Ivey to resist pressure from big-money donors and gambling operators who are currently breaking state law. Further, we call on Gov. Ivey to enforce the gambling laws enshrined in our state constitution which prohibits state-sponsored games of chance,” the anti-gambling coalition stated. “It is a shame that the dereliction of her duty to enforce the law isn’t one of her greatest regrets as it has been one of her greatest failures as governor.”
The anti-gambling coalition includes the Eagle Forum of Alabama, the Alabama Conservative Coalition, the Alabama Christian Education Association, the Southeastern Law Institute, Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP), the Christian Citizen Task Force, the Thatcher Coalition, Citizens for a Better Alabama, and the Alabama Policy Institute.
1819 News is a wholly-owned, independent subsidiary of the Alabama Policy Institute. Oversight for 1819 News is provided by a separate not-for-profit board of directors.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email: brandon.moseley@1819News.com.
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