By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Advisory Council on Gaming seems to has vanished.
The 11-member committee, formed by former Gov. Robert Bentley to study the impact of various types of gambling on state revenue, hasn’t held a meeting in more than four months and sources close to several committee members say they were told Gov. Kay Ivey has “unofficially” shut it down.
“It was my understanding that it died when Ivey came in,” a source said. “The work was done, all that was left was writing the report. And the report wasn’t far from being completed.”
Numerous sources, including some on the committee confirmed that chairman Clinton Carter, the State’s finance director, was in the process of compiling a comprehensive report on the committee’s work when he was informed by Ivey’s office that the Governor wasn’t interested in the report.
A message left with Ivey’s office late Monday wasn’t returned.
The committee met on numerous occasions and heard presentations from a variety of entities, including lottery directors from Louisiana and Connecticut, casino owners, law enforcement and several people opposed to gaming.
It’s unclear how much the state spent on travel costs and clerical work associated with the committee’s meetings, but it is likely into the thousands of dollars.
The committee itself was comprised of several pro- and anti-gaming lawmakers, and it was tasked by Bentley with compiling, once and for all, a clear set of facts that could be used by lawmakers to cut through the confusion that often surrounds gambling and its many different forms.
Sources familiar with Carter’s final report say he wasn’t planning to recommend any particular choice for the state, but was instead going to provide a concise set of pros and cons for a variety of different options.
“For example, if we just did a lottery, here’s what it would mean for revenues, the laws that could change, the effect on several entities, etc.,” a source said. “There were too many different opinions on gaming for the committee to reach a conclusion that everyone agreed on.”
One view most committee members shared: There was no argument for refusing to allow the citizens of Alabama to vote on gaming in some form, or all forms.
“The only discussion on the committee was about making sure we gave voters clear and complete information,” a source said.