The Alabama senator that sponsored the gambling bill currently making its way through the state legislature is facing a lawsuit from a trio of non-profit organizations because of the legislation.
Age With Dignity Inc., OIC Dream Greene County and Dream County Inc. is suing Sen. Del Marsh, alleging that the Republican senator is creating a “pay to play” scheme with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, according to a report from a local NBC affiliate.
Age With Dignity is based in Tallahassee, FL, and has a mission statement of honoring “the God-given human dignity of the most vulnerable among us.” According to its Wikipedia page, the group was founded by former Florida Governors Lawton Chiles, Jeb Bush and Bob Graham, among others. The other two charities in the lawsuit are similar organizations.
Marsh denied the claims and told the local media that his legislative power is not for sale.
“That’s a flat lie,” said Marsh. “I mean, I’ve never, ever insinuated to anyone that I will cast a vote for money. That’s a flat-out lie.”
A representative of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians also dismissed the allegations.
Aside from alleging that Marsh was taking cash for his vote, the lawsuit also claims that SB 214 creates an illegal monopoly with the tribe. The bill passed a Senate committee last month and the Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday.
Under the proposed legislation, a ballot initiative would be up for a vote this November to let citizens of the state decide if the state should amend its constitution to allow the creation of a lottery, legalize sports betting and bring five casinos to the state.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians have been pushing for a gaming compact with the state since 2019 and it seems likely that Gov. Kay Ivey would sign one with the tribe if the bill is passed and approved by the populace at the ballot box.
While the charities argue that this would create an illegal monopoly, there are similar compacts in other states throughout the country. In Florida, for example, the Seminole Tribe was given exclusive rights to casino gaming. A similar compact exists in Connecticut with the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.