Legalize gambling, reap benefits instate

Published 11:42 am Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dear Editor,

I was recently sickened and appalled by a letter that was printed in the editorial section of the Shelby County Reporter. The author of the letter accused Senator Roger Bedford of creating a “monster” by supporting the gambling bill that was recently discussed in the Alabama State Senate.

As a retired police officer with 34 years of service, I can tell you without reservation that the monster does indeed exist. The monster is called illegal gambling, and it has existed in Alabama for decades. Every Nascar race, baseball game, football game and boxing event that takes place has huge sums of money wagered on its outcome.

In addition, electronic bingo parlors and casinos operate without any regulatory commission or board to police their operations.

I applaud Senator Bedford’s actions. I say yes to legalized casino gambling, but I also say let’s go one step further and create a state lottery. Have the house and Senate bills drawn up properly and fairly, where the profits are primarily distributed to education, state and local correctional facilities and highway construction and repairs. I believe that our children should have the opportunity to receive a quality education; I believe the phrase “over-crowded” should not be a factor in our prison system and I believe I should be able to travel I-65 without destroying the tires and front end of my vehicle.

It is true that a select few people will allow gambling to consume them, just as others allow alcohol or other vices to control their lives.

If you don’t believe anything else I have written, I ask you to please believe this: people who want to gamble are going to do so, regardless of where they have to go in order to participate.

I say legalize casino gambling, create a state lottery, create the proper regulatory commission or board to police them and take advantage of the millions upon millions of dollars of Alabama money currently going to Mississippi, Florida and Georgia.

I close with this promise: if you choose not to gamble or play the state lottery no one will come to your home, place a gun to your head and demand that you go to a casino.

Wake up people. Our state is so broke, we can’t even pay attention. I would prefer that my casino dollars and lottery dollars help an Alabama child go to college. Currently, I am helping send children from Mississippi, Florida and Georgia to college. You do the math.