Alabama Bingo Wars Continue

For the past two years there has been on ongoing ‘bingo war’ in Alabama. The last governor was an anti gambling extremist that shut down several casinos over the installation of electronic bingo machines. There were raids at bingo halls across Alabama and thousands of casino employees were thrown out of work. Despite the economic damage former Governor Riley continued his irresponsible anti gambling campaign using underhanded tactics. There is widespread support for casino gambling and electronic bingo in Alabama but despite the wishes of the majority a small group of anti gambling extremists is continuing their campaign.

Many thought that the election of new Gov. Robert Bentley would cause the state government to ease up on their campaign to eliminate electronic bingo in Alabama. The apparent gambling honeymoon ended abruptly two months after Bentley took office. In February the new attorney general Luther Strange told Alabama’s remaining bingo resorts that they must remove all bingo machines and ship them out of state. Operators had no choice and moved the machines out of state while waiting for court decisions that they hoped would go in their favor. The move also caused layoffs at several bingo halls.

In late March a Jefferson County circuit court judge ruled in favor of electronic bingo. A few days later Magic City Bingo and Midfield Bingo opened their doors in the Alabama city of Midfield. Despite the favorable ruling on April 4th local sheriff’s deputies raided both bingo halls disregarding the court’s ruling in favor of the bingo halls. One of Alabama’s largest bingo operators, Country Crossing, said that the bingo hall is working with game manufacturers to develop a bingo machine that complies with Alabama’s gambling laws.

Two years ago, former Gov. Bob Riley created a ‘task force’ that sent armed state troopers who staged para military style raids on bingo halls across the state. Bentley ran for governor on a promise to shut down the armed task force and end the para military raids. Bentley made good on his promise and disbanded the task force. After the April 4th raids the fate of electronic bingo in Alabama is once again in the courts.

Alabama bingo players should consider playing at online bingo sites instead of at electronic bingo halls. The jackpots are much larger and there are no travel expenses and the games at bingo sites are much cheaper. Until the anti gambling officials have left office bingo sites are probably the best option for bingo players in Alabama.

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