Federal officials are investigating the corruption charge surrounding the state of Alabama’s bingo machines battle, yet another complication developed on whether the state should allow non-profit organizations to offer electronic bingo machines as a way to raise money for their causes.
Agents from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Department of Justice and the FBI said on April 29th, 2010 that they have found “enough evidence of corruption” around a legislative battle to formally recognize the bingo machines, which bears a lot of similarities to slot machines.
It was reported on April 11th, 2010 that at least two legislators had worn wires as part of the investigation after they had received numerous offers from bingo lobbyists that they believed to be bribes.
Governor Bob Riley (Republican), who is opposed to gaming, has been going after bingo machines in Alabama in the past year. The governor’s task force on illegal gambling has been going after bingo machine operators, even raiding the establishments in the middle of the night and confiscating the machines. Electronic bingo machines bears a lot of similarities to slot machines, which are prohibited in the state.
Stateline.org said that about one hundred parlors have already been close down and employees at the remaining parlors are afraid for their jobs. The task force on illegal gambling has spark numerous lawsuits and counter suits and suffered a setback when its leader was force to step down from the position after it was revealed that he had won $2,300 dollars at a casino facility in Mississippi.
Rev. Jesse Jackson has led a march against Governor Riley’s action against bingo machines. Lotteries are prohibited in Alabama but sixteen counties have permitted bingo as an option to raise additional money.
Gov. Riley’s campaign against electronic bingo machines has prompted supporters of bingo machines in the state legislature, mostly Democrats, to create a constitutional amendment that would allow, tax and regulate bingo parlors in Alabama. The state Senate passed the amendment last month.
If the House follows the lead of the Senate this week, the motion will be place before the state voters in November 2010. A state senator said that a bingo lobbyist offered him $250,000 dollars to support the bingo amendment.
Another senator, who said that he was working with investigators, also revealed that he had been offered large campaign contributions to support the issue. Supporters of the bingo amendment said that the investigation is politically motivated.