Bentley went from gambling critic to lottery proponent

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's support of a referendum on a state lottery comes six years after he criticized gambling as a detriment to society.

The governor has consistently supported the people's right to vote on gambling. However, in his 2010 campaign said he opposed all gambling because it preyed upon those who could least afford to lose money.

Asked about his past remarks, Bentley said in an interview Monday that he weighed what would be best. The governor said a lottery was the only option left for funding Medicaid, a healthcare program for the poor after the state tried cutting costs, borrowing money and raising taxes.

Bentley said he did not believe a lottery carried the same social problems as casino gambling.

The governor has called a special session beginning Aug. 15 on a state lottery.