Alabama Bingo Vendetta Continues

Last week a judge in Alabama ruled that electronic bingo machines seized in a raid at Center Stage casino earlier in the year are illegal slot machines. Houston County Judge Michael Conaway ruled that the machines could be destroyed and the cash seized could go into the state’s general fund. For years Alabama attorney general Luther Strange has wasted millions on his peculiar vendetta against electronic bingo in the state. Recently VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor said the ruling did not apply to establishment and said that electronic bingo is legal where he is located.

In a statement to the news media McGregor responded to comments made by attorney general Luther Strange detailing the Houston County case. Strange said that electronic bingo is illegal in all counties in Alabama and added that he he believed the justification for the seizure of property applied to all counties with a bingo ordinance. In Houston County 691 bingo machines were seized along with $288,000 in cash. McGregor told reporters “Regardless of what the AG may say in his press releases, the Houston County decision on electronic bingo has absolutely no bearing on Macon County.”

Last week Strange released a statement and said that machines masquerading as bingo machines are actually illegal slot machines and are illegal everywhere in Alabama. Strange stated” I hope this opinion will serve as a warning for those currently engaged in illegal gambling activities or contemplating operating slot machines in Houston County and throughout the state.” McGregor said that Macon County voters were aware of electronic bingo which was passed in a special election in 2003. McGregor  also said that bingo amendments for Houston and Macon Counties were different and that gaming has been legal in Macon County for 30 years. McGregor said electronic bingo was “another form of gaming approved by the voters to create more jobs, increase taxes, and generate revenues.”

McGregor told reporters “So while the state politicians may have changed, the Macon County constitutional amendment and the intent of the voters in Macon County has not. The folks in Macon County know a thing or two about fighting for their constitutional rights, and this fight is no different.” Attorney general Strange replied and said “The Alabama Supreme Court’s decision in that case relied on the same legal principles as Judge Conaway’s decision in Houston County. Neither the Houston County amendment nor the Macon County amendment says anything about allowing ‘electronic bingo’ or ‘bingo machines.’” A case against VictoryLand is currently in the courts. If Strange has his way online bingo may be the only option left to bingo fans in Alabama.

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