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Alabama Video Poker Bill Passes Senate Panel

7 March 2001

MONTGOMERY - March 7, 2001 -- As reported by the Alabama Mobile Register: "Another gambling bill popped loose from a Senate committee Tuesday, leading an opponent to predict the issue will hang over the Legislature for the remainder of the 2001 regular session.

"The Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee approved a bill on a 3-2 vote that would legalize video poker at the state's four dog tracks. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Charles Steele, D-Tuscaloosa, would legalize video poker and other "skill-dependent games" at all four of the state's greyhound racing tracks, including Mobile Greyhound Park in Theodore.

"Last year, video poker proponents tried to pass bills allowing local votes on the game in each county that has a dog track. None of those bills ever passed, despite the efforts of Steele and others to round up votes. A bill for the Mobile track never got very far, because of opposition within the local delegation.

"…Steele, whose district includes a dog track in Greene County, said he thought the political calculus might be different this year because of the state's education funding shortfall. Legalizing video poker would create from $20 million to $30 million in new money for schools.

"…The Steele bill joins a bill passed last month by the committee that would legalize video redemption machines at dog tracks, and allow up to four machines in other locations. Sen. Gerald Dial, D-Lineville, the earlier bill's sponsor, said it would outlaw arcades that have popped up across the state featuring the devices, which resemble video slot machines. That bill is sponsored by Dial..."

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