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Lawmakers in Florida thought they had heard the last of Marco Rubio’s opinions on expanding gambling when he was relieved of his duties as House Speaker. After Rubio’s comments during a news conference this past week, the gambling proponents are experiencing deja vu.
“There is a real moral issue with asking government to expand its operations to be increasingly dependent on an activity we should be discouraging, not encouraging,” said Rubio at a news conference in Tallahassee.
Rubio is not alone in his stance on the gambling issue. The Christian Coalition and the Florida Baptist Convention were also both represented at the news conference. The groups are typical representation of those who believe gambling is bad for a community, but not everyone agrees with them.
“You’re either going to raise money for education in Tallahassee or you’re going to go home to raise property taxes,” said Rubio’s fellow Republican, Senator Dennis Jones, the sponsor of legislation that could change the face of casino gambling around the country.
Jones has proposed that the Seminole Indians be allowed to bring craps, roulette, blackjack, and other forms of gambling to their Florida casinos. He also would like to expand options for state pari-mutuel facilities.
Jones points to the fact that Florida is already a gambling state. He claims that expanded gambling would only help the economy in the state, and keep many people from being unemployed.
Judge In Alabama Gives Governor A Gambling Machine Reality Check
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In the state of Alabama, Governor Robert Riley has taken it upon himself to interpret state law regarding gambling machines. He has set up the Task Force on Illegal Gambling to go around and bully gaming establishments, but on Saturday, the governor and his task force received a reality check.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Mark Kennedy ruled on Saturday that the state police must return over 100 machines that were seized back to the White Hall gambling center. He also ruled that the center can reopen without the fear that the Task Force will bother them in the future.
The court ruled “that there are significant legal issues on the legality of both the issuance and the execution of the search warrant in this case.” The ruling dealt a blow to Riley, who has taken the position that all gambling machines are illegal in Alabama.
The gambling center has maintained throughout the process that they were operating legal electronic bingo machines. They were one of the establishments that the Task Force targeted in their early raids.
Even though the judge on Saturday ruled against the Governor and his Task Force, they do not intent on easing up on the raids. They also believe that this ruling will not stand up upon appeal.
“…his decision is fundamentally flawed and will be reversed on appeal because the Alabama Supreme Court has already ruled that slot machines are illegal in every county in Alabama,” said Jeff Emerson, Communications Director for Governor Riley, in a press release.