With many states considering expanding gambling offerings to their residents, including online poker, casinos and lotteries, an Alabama lawmaker is proposing a measure to get tough on illegal gambling in the Cotton State.
Rep. Allen Farley (R-McCalla) has proposed a bill that would increase the penalty for being in possession of illegal gambling devices such as slot machines from a misdemeanor to a felony, and would allow for the property on which the gambling is taking place to be seized. Farley insists there are many illegal gambling houses throughout Alabama and that one slot machine can take in over $1,000 per day, the North Jefferson News reported.
“It won’t take long for a group of machines to pay for itself,” Farley said. “The operators come in from out of state, offer an owner to upgrade their property and split the profits. A building with 100 machines can bring in $3 million in one month.”
Alabama has some of the most stringent gambling laws in the nation and currently has no commercial gambling, but tribal casinos are permitted under federal regulations. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians run several casinos in the state and would not be affected by Farley’s HB414.
Utah is seen as the strictest state regarding gambling, never allowing any form of legalized gambling and having just passed legislation that bans Internet gambling throughout the state. HB108, signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert late last month, authorizes that Utah will opt out of any federal legislation that may be enacted that permits online poker and gambling under a federal framework in all 50 states.
Nevada, of course, is the most lenient state, as gamblers have been flocking to Las Vegas for decades. The Silver State is also in the forefront of online poker legalization, having passed regulations in December and preparing to allow intrastate poker sites to be up and running sometime this fall.