Two GOP senators support bingo bill
Holley and Smith could be very key votes in the fight over electronic bingo, which Gov. Bob Riley and many Republicans believe are slot machines that are illegal in Alabama. The Democrats would need 21 votes to stop a filibuster on the bill, which is expected, and to pass the legislation.
There are 21 Democrats in the Senate and 14 Republicans, but one of those Democrats typically votes with Republicans.
"The events of the past few weeks dictate and clearly point to the fact that a final resolution to electronic bingo's legality will require the people of Alabama to exercise their right to vote on the issue," Holley, R-Elba, said in a Wednesday release. "I will support a vote on a constitutional amendment on the bingo issue if the amendment provides for a strong oversight commission, taxes the machines in an amount that is fair to the people of Alabama, and brings closure to this sad chapter in Alabama's history."
Holley and Smith, R-Slocomb, represent areas where feelings are strong about the Country Crossing development, which recently shut down due to threats of a raid from Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling. Hundreds of people lost their jobs when the complex, which includes a bingo pavilion and restaurants, shut down.
The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee approved the bill on Tuesday and a top senator has said the bill would come before the full body on Thursday or early next week.
Holley opposed a similar measure a year ago, according to the Dothan Eagle, because it created a monopoly for a few operators, and would take money from local charities.