House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) predicts an increase in illegal gambling after the Alabama Legislature failed to pass so-called comprehensive gaming legislation during this year's session.

Ledbetter, a supporter of the gambling package that included a constitutional amendment that came up one vote shy during a test vote in the Alabama Senate, appeared on Friday's broadcast of Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal" and was asked about the possibility of considering measures to crack down on illegal gaming.

The DeKalb County Republican acknowledged the possibility but said he expects more illegal gambling in the interim because of the legality questions and lack of enforcement.

"Would there be any consideration for, OK, before we go again on, you know, proliferating of gambling, right, deciding what kind of gambling we want or don't want, I would like beefing up those laws to give the attorney general and other prosecutors maybe more legal resources to crack down on.

"I certainly think that would be a possibility," Ledbetter replied. "I do think that, and I think it's probably something that should be done. But again, you know, you can beef it up as much as you want to. But you don't have the enforcement. It's not going to, anything's going to change. And probably after this, we're going to see probably an expansion of more illegal gambling. And the problem we had, you know, you get a lot of people that's making money off of it illegally, and some of it, I think, is organized crime. And you can tell just by how the facility's set up. They've showed me those pictures."

"So I think it's just giving them a runway, to be honest with you. And so I don't know if we upped it. I mean, who's going to enforce it? And you know, you say, well, the local "local people will. Well, a lot of them may have people that are involved or engaged, and not always, they think it's legal. I know the attorney general said everything's illegal. Well, I guess it depends on who you talk to. You know, there's different opinions of that."

Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.

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