Yet, according to a recent Montgomery Advertiser article, the governor feels that more than $500,000 spent on legal fees in his efforts to shut down what he deems to be illegal electronic bingo is, well, money well spent.
And then there is the cost of the "task force," which includes pay (and perhaps overtime) for the officers who are raiding bingo parlors when they could (and perhaps should) be patrolling highways. And there is the cost of those things that support the effort — cars and trucks and vans, oh my.
Meanwhile, it's difficult, if not impossible, to calculate how much time and money courts have spent trying to unravel the tangled web of jurisdiction that has been revealed in this fight.
The judicial system is running out of money and is cutting staff. This will lead to an even bigger backlog in the court system. So much for a speedy trial, unless you are involved in the bingo controversy. That seems to be put on the fast track.
The governor's office says that it has seized $1.3 million from raids and this will help cover costs. But no one knows how much, if any, the state can keep and use for expenses that many feel should not have been incurred in the first place.
And then there is the Legislature, which cannot or will not pass clear, understandable legislation to resolve the matter. Other states have gambling laws, gambling regulations and gambling authorities to monitor and enforce. Why can't Alabama?
Gov. Bob Riley, for reasons that must seem to him pure and noble, wants to protect Alabamians from gambling and from themselves. He has assumed the authority to interpret and enforce the law, two things that are usually reserved for the courts and the office of the attorney general.
The courts can only deal with cases that are brought to them, and what they are getting is a legal mishmash with little or no clear legal guidelines and precedents on which the judges and justices can act. So they must make their own and run the risk of being accused of judicial activism.
It is the responsibility of the Legislature to provide the legal basis on which the courts depend. And the Legislature hasn't done it.
And the state keeps spending money that would be better spent elsewhere.