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Let’s settle the gambling issue

In recent days, a drawdown that has been conducted by the Hartselle baseball and softball booster clubs has come under fire.

Reports have surfaced that the school system’s attorney had determined it was gambling and whether this was an official school function or not.

It is one of the program’s biggest fundraisers of the year.

A drawdown is kind of a reverse raffle drawing, where the person whose number is drawn last wins the big prize, in this case $10,000. Some decide to keep the money while others decide to give it back to the program.

The one thing I don’t really know is whether it’s legal or not. On the surface, we say gambling is illegal in Alabama, but we also allow certain forms of gambling.

That has been one of the biggest debates in Alabama, especially over the last year. Former Gov. Bob Riley formed an illegal gambling task force, which was aimed at closing all of the casinos such as Greentrack and Victoryland. Ultimately, I think he wanted to even close the Indian casinos if he could.

The battle to close the casinos went all the way from the lowest levels of government to the Alabama Supreme Court. One year later, I’m still not sure just what is legal or what isn’t legal as far as gambling goes.

Granted, a drawdown such as Hartselle’s may be gambling and it could violate the Alabama State Code, but I don’t know anything for sure.

By the way, Hartselle isn’t the only ones to have a fundraiser like this. Several Morgan County athletic programs and others throughout the state have drawdowns. So if you rule Hartselle’s as illegal, you have to do the same for everyone else.

Alabama needs to decide once and for all whether it wants gambling or not.

If we don’t, let’s close the loopholes in our law now.

If we do, then let’s find a way to tax it and bring in revenue.

Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.