Different groups called the Alabama New South Coalition and the Alabama Democratic Conference held rallies at in Washington, in order to try to convince the administration to remove the ban on playing online bingo and to support the bingo industry. Another group called the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus and most of the people, who had lost their jobs due to the ban on gambling, took part in the rally also. Ross and Bobby Singleton and, two known Democrat Senators, who were part of the activity for government Committee, led the rallies and asked the people to vote in favor of the American bingo machines.
In the Alabama state all earlier legislations to allow, had been turned down by the State House, the object of the demonstration was to ask for votes to alter this legislation to legalize gambling in the state by marching through Washington and ending the march at the State House.
Governor and the Alabama High Court were mainly responsible for imposing the ban in the state and the rally was organized to protest against this ban.
A special team had been made earlier by Governor Riley to close down all casinos in the state of Alabama, except the Indian casinos which were governed by the federal court, as slot machines and electronic bingo machines had been declared illegal by the Alabama state high court,
The Democratic Party senators claimed that the ban against gambling had created thousands of jobless people. These people had dedicated all their years operating the gambling machines thus building lifelong careers in this industry and had no exposure to any other profession. With gambling being declared illegal, they were rendered jobless.
But the press secretary working for Governor Riley was of the view that if gambling was declared legal, then instead of boosting the prosperity of local community, it would only cause the economy to collapse. In his opinion, the owners of the casinos were trying to bring in more and more Democrats into their fold with the hope that a government led by Democrats would be voted into power in the coming month of November who would make gambling legal. The casino owners would then be able to earn millions of dollars at the expense of the Alabamians.
The press secretary said that the casino owners had been sending the money earned from the Alabamians, to their bosses who lived outside the state and huge economic, social and political price had been paid by states that had made gambling legal. The downturn of the local economy due to the exit of dollars to other states had cost the people their jobs. The loss of jobs had affected the society adversely, and criminal activities had increased. The political situation, where the gambling houses would dictate terms to the government was totally unacceptable to the Governor.
The argument given by the Chairwoman of the government Committee, Val Goodson, was that the ban on any kind of gambling was in effect causing the people to lose their jobs. Those who had lost their jobs in the state of Alabama, had gone to find employment. As the number of working people decreased in the state, so would the government’s earning from taxes.
It has been argued by Singleton, as well as Goodson and also by Ross that they had no other option but to use voting as an instrument to fight the task force made by Governor Riley which had impinged on the democratic rights of the masses.
The view held by certain sections of people was that the ban on gambling, especially the bingo gaming, was being used by the Democrats as an issue to garner more votes without any regard for the problem itself. It was denied by a committee member who said the issue was benefiting neither the Democrats nor the Republicans. It was more to do with the conditions relating to work and the gambling industry the people would have to decide whether to vote for or against the issue.
Gamble Aware (www.gambleaware.co.uk) is managed by the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, an independent charity which funds treatment, research and education about responsible gambling. The website has been developed by a Task Force made up of representatives from the Gambling Commission, DCMS, academia and industry.