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Gambling Interests Spend Millions But Lose Alabama Election

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Gambling interests in Alabama have been searching for the perfect candidate to come along and push for the regulation of electronic bingo machines. That candidate finally arrived last year when Ron Sparks ran for Governor.

Gambling interests poured money into the election, hoping that they would finally be free from the assault that former Governor Robert Riley had launched, but their efforts came up futile. Sparks lost the election to Republican Robert Bentley, and the gaming interests appeared to again be left out in the cold.

According to analysis by the Birmingham News, over 140 political action committees dealt with donations from various gaming interests. It was not only those seeking electronic bingo regulation, but also Indian tribes who had their own agenda.

The gambling interests may not be as bad off under Bentley as they would have assumed heading into this year. When Bentley turned over the Task Force on Illegal Gambling to Attorney General Luther Strange, it was speculated that was for the reason of continuing the Task Force.

Shortly after, however, Bentley and Strange decided to shut down the Task Force. The attorney general warned that it did not mean that gaming facilities could re-open. Strange did acknowledge that he would be willing to allow the state Supreme Court to finally make a ruling on whether or not the machines are legal under Alabama law.

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