Place your bets on finding a solution

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bingo hall raids, fights between constitutional officers, possible widespread corruption, and the roulette wheel in Montgomery continues to spin.

In all the back and forth, I’ve only heard one plausible solution and it came from a friend and fellow Shelby Countian.

My friend, who I’ll let remain anonymous, has no ties to gaming that I’m aware of and I’m not even sure he’s ever pulled the arm of a slot machine; but he’s a very intelligent, matter -of-fact sort of guy, making him infinitely more qualified to offer a solution than many.

So, what’s my friend’s solution?

Legalize full casino gambling only at existing Robert Trent Jones Trail facilities (11 of which are scattered across the state), put those casinos under the direct management of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, earmarking by legislation how proceeds would be spent (i.e. a percentage to education, roads, etc.).

Such a solution would, in my simple-minded perspective, eliminate a handful of concerns:

-Fear of so-called gambling bosses running wild in Alabama.

-Gaming as a means of funding education, roads, etc. would be insured as RSA, ALDOT and others receiving gaming proceeds would control its operation.

-Fear of bingo halls and casinos popping up on every corner would be appeased.

-Based on RSA’s excellent track record of operating first-class facilities, casinos under their control would no doubt contribute to the state’s tourism industry and likely be a boost to our overall economy.

-If done properly and in the light of day, money might not line the pockets of those in positions of power.

I’m not yet convinced gaming in our state would solve more problems than it would create, but my friend’s idea is one worth considering.

Goodness knows, it’s the best solution I’ve heard.