Southern States Battling Increased Invasion of Gambling Industry
by Rusty Pugh and Jody Brown
(AgapePress) – A bill that would legalize video gambling in Alabama has been pulled, but opponents fear it could be brought back.
Citizens of Alabama have made it crystal clear in recent years that they oppose gambling in their state. But that did not stop the legislature from attempting to pass yet another measure to legalize it. Senate Bill 261 would have legalized video gambling.
Alabama Policy Institute director Gary Palmer says the bill has been pulled from consideration, but that does not mean it will not be reintroduced. The head of the pro-family group says gambling proponents who he says will say anything to further legalization of gambling have portrayed the measure as a way to eliminate illegal video gambling.
“But the way it does that is that it makes it all legal, except video poker [which] is very narrowly defined,” Palmer says. “So the gambling interests who back this bill have been trying to fool the people of Alabama by saying that 'We're going to get rid of video gambling in Alabama,' when in fact they're going to legalize it.”
According to Palmer, the senate bill would expand the gambling industry in his state.
“[Under SB 261, gambling establishments] can have as many machines as they want, and they can pay out as much as they want there would be no limit on the prizes,” he says. “And it would also allow other businesses around the state to have up to four of the machines as long as the business had at least 300 square feet of space in its building. So what this really is is an expansion of gambling in Alabama.”
Para-mutual gambling has been legal in Alabama for years. But Palmer warns that gambling is an escalating problem, and once another form of it is legalized it will never go away. Nevertheless, he is confident if SB 261 is reintroduced, the citizens of Alabama can once again stop it.
Meanwhile, next door in Mississippi, there are rumors that a group of Native Americans is trying to buy land to build a casino in Tishomingo County, located in the northeast corner of the Magnolia State. According to the Northeast Daily Journal, a realtor in the town of Iuka confirms he is working with clients who want to locate a gaming establishment in the county, but prefers to keep their names confidential. Although no land transaction has taken place, Billy Godwin confirms a “sizable” amount of land about 100-120 acres is being considered.
Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association, yesterday indicated if indeed a group is making plans to build a casino in Tishomingo County, his organization would call upon its supporters in the state to petition lawmakers not to allow it. Sharp contends the issue is more than just “rumors,” indicating a farmer in the area confirms being approached about selling his land. According to Sharp, the farmer says he intends to sell if the potential buyers meet his price.
(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)
by Fred Jackson and Jody Brown
(AgapePress) – A trial just under way in Utah is expected to put polygamy back in the national spotlight.
The man on trial is Tom Green. He does not dispute the basic facts of the case. He fully admits to having five wives and 25 children. Green is charged with four counts of felony bigamy and criminal non-support charges.
The Utah constitution and state law both ban polygamy. But the laws are rarely invoked against the state's estimated 30,000 practicing polygamists. In fact, as The Washington Times notes, Green's case represents the first time a polygamist has gone on trial in Utah in more than 50 years.
As the newspaper notes, regardless of the verdict in the case, it is expected to have far-reaching consequences in the state. A guilty verdict could push polygamists further into the shadows, while a verdict in favor of Green may bring that same group into the courtrooms to demand the freedom to practice their faith openly.
Green, described as a fundamentalist Mormon, drew attention to himself after promoting his lifestyle on the TV court program Judge Judy as well as other network shows. Also, polygamy came under fire in Utah in the last year amid several published accusations of sexual abuse and incest within some of the state's large clans.