The Mobile Greyhound Park sits 14 miles from the Alabama-Mississippi state line and 43 miles from the closest casino in Biloxi, Miss. off Interstate 10. The site is one of the possible locations for casino gaming under several proposals considered by the Alabama Legislature over the past few years.
The facility sits in State Sen. David Sessions' (R-Grand Bay) Senate District 35. However, despite the possible direct impact casino gaming could have on his district, Sessions is tepid about the prospects of a proliferation of gambling in Alabama.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show" earlier this week, Sessions said he anticipated it would be a front-burner topic in the new quadrennium but stated it was not one of his priorities.
"Certainly not a priority for me, but I think what you will see come up probably soon in the next quadrennium will be gaming legislation," Sessions said. "That's just a gut feeling I have. Now, like I say, that's not a priority for me because I'm not crazy about gaming issues. I understand the issue of our citizens going to other states to buy lottery tickets. I know all of the ins and outs. But I still feel gambling is a tax on the poor, although it is voluntary. But it is one of those things that is just going to continue to come up. And it is going to continue to come up until we put something out there for the people to vote on. Will that be on a 2023, 2024 ballot? I don't know, but I'm sure there will be a push to get it there."
As for the possibility of casino gaming in his district, Sessions described attitudes as mixed.
"It's just a mixed bag," Sessions said. "You've got a lot of people who would like to see it because all of our money is going to Biloxi or to Atmore, or, you know, out to Las Vegas -- wherever people want to go gamble. It would be kind of mixed. You're still going to have the Christian conservatives who don't want to see it, regardless. It's not a cut-and-dried situation there. It's really a difficult choice to make when you're faced with that.
"And, you know, at the end of the day, Jeff, you and I both realize it takes a constitutional amendment. I don't want to take the voice of the people away from them, but if I'm going to give the opportunity to vote on that, I'm going to make sure what is right and what is good for the state of Alabama and the people of Alabama -- not what is good for the casino operators and the lottery operators."
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