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Alabama Legislators Push for Video Poker

2 July 2000

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA – July 2, 2000 – As reported by The Birmingham News: "South Carolina said so long to video poker machines on Friday, but Alabama lawmakers who want the gambling machines at the state's four dog tracks said they'll be back fighting for the cause next year.

"…[State Rep. John] Rogers is a longtime advocate of expanding gambling in Alabama, which he said would help the state keep money that's now flowing to casinos in Mississippi and lotteries in Florida and Georgia.

"Rogers said he will bring a bill again next year that would let Birmingham voters decide whether to add video poker at the Birmingham Race Course. Similar measures are likely to be filed for tracks in Macon, Mobile and Greene Counties.

"…Two years ago, state lawmakers almost approved a single bill that would have allowed video poker at all four tracks without a referendum. The bill fell one vote short of final passage.

"…Rick Heartsill, a spokesman for the four dog tracks, said there has been no discussion about what to do next year, even though the industry contends revenue from video poker is direly needed.

"…Heartsill said South Carolina's industry was never approved by voters and was virtually unregulated. Alabama's proposal, in contrast, would limit the games to the four tracks and include a strict regulatory and taxing structure..."

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