Advisory Council on Gaming appointments announced

Published 10:39 am Friday, October 21, 2016

Special to the Signal
Governor Robert Bentley on Friday announced the appointments for the Alabama Advisory Council on Gaming, which was created as a result of Executive Order Number 24 signed on Oct. 3.
The Council will assess the current state and local laws on gambling, as well as the taxes generated therefrom, and will evaluate the best practices in other states, including the tax revenue structures and the enabling and implementing regulations and laws, as well as compare Alabama state laws to applicable federal gaming laws.
According to Executive Order Number 24, “gaming in Alabama has been the subject of dispute and controversy as to forms of gaming permitted or prohibited both by Alabama law, including constitutional provisions and local constitutional amendments, and Alabama Supreme Court case law, as well as federal law governing gaming on Indian tribal lands located adjacent to Alabama state lands.”
Lowndes County has two electronic bingo facilities now operating in White Hall, Southern Star and White Hall.
Prior to Executive Order 24, Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange sent a letter/email to the Lowndes County sheriff and district attorney dated Sept. 20.
According to the memo, “It is widely known that White Hall and Southern Star and continue as of today’s date to operate electronic bingo machines. This is a violation of Alabama law.”
The memor also stated, “The various local Constitutional Amendments that provide exceptions to the general prohibition of lotteries permit only the traditional form of bingo.”
The letter/email concluded: In order to ensure that appropriate and timely action is taken to stop this illegal activity, please provide written acknowledgement of this directive and details of your planned enforcement by September 30, 2016 to our offices.”
District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer and Sheriff John Williams declined at the time to comment to the Signal on their response.
Southern Star subsequently closed and has since reopened.
Bentley said Friday, “I am looking forward to the recommendations presented by this 11 person Advisory Council. In recent years, a considerable amount of time and resources have been spent debating gaming in Alabama; however I am hopeful this group will present some new ideas or solutions that can help resolve this ongoing dispute and provide a clear direction going forward.”
The Governor has selected Finance Director Clinton Carter as chairman of the Council. The appointments are as follows:
Governor’s appointments: Jim Byard, Jr., director of Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs; Clinton Carter, director of Finance Department; Curtis Stewart, deputy commissioner of Alabama Department of Revenue; Carrie McCollum, general counsel for Alabama Credit Union Administration; andConnie Rowe, state representative.
Pro Tem’s appointments: Bobby Singleton, state senator; and Greg Albritton, state senator. Speaker’s appointments: Jim Carns, state representative; and Craig Ford, state representative. District Attorneys Association: Barry Matson, deputy director. Sheriffs Association: Bobby Timmons, executive director.
All appointments are effective immediately. The Council will present findings and recommendations on gaming to the Governor, the President Pro Tem of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House by Jan. 31, 2017.

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