A long-serving Montgomery lawmaker, Sen. Gerald Dial of the 13th District, announced his support of a recent move by Gov. Robert Bentley to devolve the state’s authority over anti-gambling laws to local county authorities.
Bentley executed the change by way of an executive order issued Thursday, the 13th of his five years in office.
“I commend Governor Bentley on taking this action,” said Dial, a 10-term legislator from Lineville. “At a time when the state is closing state parks, driver’s license offices, and other programs important to taxpayers, it is foolish to spend another penny on the bingo issue.”
Dial’s proclamation of support comes after other groups, including the pro-business Alabama Jobs Foundation, have similarly praised Bentley’s decision to revoke another order he issued back in 2011, which disbanded the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling and remanded power over anti-gambling provisions to the state attorney general’s office.
“The courts have ruled and this issue is now resolved. Governor Bentley’s action will further clear the air and ensure that the law is followed and that everyone is treated fairly. Also, it will mean more jobs for an area of the state the badly needs them.”
Gambling has been a hot-button issue in Alabama of late. The state is one of a few in the nation that has no state lottery, and whose conservative leaders have by and large opposed gaming expansion on moral grounds.
That’s beginning to change, as the endorsements of Dial and the AJF seem to augur.
“The Alabama Jobs Foundation will continue to fully support passage of the Constitutional Amendment proposed by Senator Del Marsh that will further regulate gaming, generate over 400 million dollars annually, provide over 11,000 new jobs and have a statewide economic impact of over 1.2 billion dollars,” the Alabama Jobs Foundation said in a prepared statement regarding Executive Order 13 on Thursday.
The move, many believe, would ease the way for a broader comprehensive legislative proposal to expand casino gaming in Alabama, removing an executive branch roadblock.