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We have a gambling problem in Alabama. The state’s governor, Republican Bob Riley, began a crackdown on illegal gambling 23 months ago. He declared, with the backing of the state’s Supreme Court, that thousands of electronic bingo machines located in 16 of the state’s 67 counties are, in fact, slot machines. Slot machines are illegal in Alabama. Nevertheless, thousands of them crept into our state under the phony label of “charity bingo.” Since charity bingo is allowed for things such as church fund-raisers, the gambling industry thought they could put the word “bingo” on a slot machine and get away with it.

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