Gov. Bentley: gambling law enforcement in hands of sheriffs, DAs

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ALABAMA (WHNT) - An executive order by Governor Robert Bentley says he wants the state out of the business of trying to shut down bingo facilities.

"What Governor Bentley has done is tell local authorities, sheriffs and district attorneys that if there's any gambling enforcement it's up to them to make that decision to enforce the laws as they interpret the laws," said Senator Arthur Orr.

The order means Attorney General Luther Strange will no longer be the chief anti-gambling enforcer.

The order came as the Alabama Supreme Court is weighing an appeal from Strange's office regarding electronic bingo machines belonging to Victoryland in Macon County.

In a statement, Bentley said the state litigation regarding bingo facilities raises concern about unequal enforcement of state gambling laws.

He says the state spent more than $9 million enforcing anti-gambling laws, and he hopes the changes will help slash that spending.

"The states not going to be coming in to enforce these gambling laws on the books, he's going to leave it to the jurisdictions to do that," explained Sen. Orr.

Lotteries and gambling were hot topics in the last legislative session as a possible solution to a strapped state budget.

Senator Del Marsh had a gambling bill in the last session, and he has already responded to the governor's recent action.

"He approved of Governor Bentley's action because this clears the air for future gambling legislation," said Orr.

Though it never made it to the floor for a vote last year, this action could start the state down the path to a lottery.

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