Bingo for Books not necessary

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The showdown is expected this week. Gambling comes full force to the Alabama Senate.

It’s in the candy-coated form of &uot;Bingo for Books&uot; but it is still all-out gambling, none the same.

It is in the form of Senate Bill 381 sponsored by Sen. Gerald Dial, D-Lineville.

It seeks to allow all Alabama dog tracks permission to install thousands of video poker machines conveniently re-programmed to play bingo.

The state would get a 10 percent cut to go toward textbooks.

If passed in the Legislature, it could go to the people for a vote in November.

It sounds so nice, so neat, so educational. I am sorry to say that is a scam.

What they won’t tell you is that the education trust fund is growing, and there will be money for textbooks shortly.

Bingo for Books is not needed or necessary.

What they won’t tell you is that even though these machines would be re-programmed to play bingo, they are still illegal in Alabama.

They break the law.

What they won’t tell you is these machines would be allowed only at the tracks.

They would not be allowed at any of the charities.

What they won’t tell you is these machines can increase if more dog tracks open in other parts of the state down the road.

What they won’t tell you is this bill, if passed, would put the dog tracks beyond the reach of our state constitution and almost a law unto themselves.

The whole effect of Senate Bill 381 is to turn the dog tracks into casinos.

It is dishonest, discriminatory and diabolical.

Six senators have joined together with me to try to stop it.

We are &uot;The Magnificent Seven&uot; standing up for the families of Alabama.

Keep us in your prayers this week.

Hank Erwin is a state senator from Shelby County. He can be reached at