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Sparks Increases Push For Regulated Gambling In Alabama

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The gambling debate in Alabama received new fuel for its fire this past week when it was revealed that one of its top grossing casinos, VictoryLand, paid less than one percent of its profits to charity. That created a new round of sparring among Gubernatorial candidates in the state.

Republican hopeful Robert Bentley called the current gambling situation in Alabama a "farce." Bentley would like to continue the controversial Task Force on Illegal Gambling that has been started by Governor Robert Riley. The Task Force has divided residents of the state, and has send Riley's approval rating plummeting.

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks had a different take on the information released about VictoryLand. Sparks believes that the low amount paid to charities is another reason why the state needs regulations in place to govern its casinos. It is a stance Sparks has taken since he entered the race to become the next governor of Alabama.

Sparks went even further in describing his vision. The Democrat believes that if the gambling industry is regulated correctly, there will be plenty of revenue generated to help the state's struggling Medicaid system.

"I am the only candidate with a plan to deal with the impending crisis in Medicaid. My proposal to regulate and tax casino gambling in Alabama will protect those in our state who can least afford medical care," said Sparks. "As I've shown before, based on data from the state of Mississippi, developing casino gambling as a revenue source will stabilize Medicaid in Alabama."

Alabama casinos employ a large population of Alabama residents. The recent raids at some of the gambling facilities have left thousands of Alabamians out of work, further hurting the local economy. Governor Riley contends that the gambling facilities are operating illegal gambling machines.

Proponents of the gambling halls claim that the electronic bingo machines are in compliance with Alabama law. The state Supreme Court has ruled on individual cases involving the machines, but has not made a blanket ruling regarding the legality of the machines.

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