Alabama gambling bill prompts passionate testimony

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Gambling foes and proponents squared off over whether a lottery and casinos would bring jobs and revenue, or corruption and vice.

The Alabama Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee held a public hearing Tuesday on the bill to authorize a state lottery and casinos at four dog tracks.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, who is sponsoring the bill, says gambling has to be an option on the table for the state budget crisis.

Gambling opponent Joe Godfrey argued gambling would be a tax on the poor. Others argued Macon County had been devastated by the closure of VictoryLand bingo casino.

Testimony also illustrated the developing turf war. Speakers from the Wiregrass asked to have a fifth casino located there.

Marsh delayed a vote, saying he wants changes to the bill.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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