Front Line News From the Alabama Bingo Wars

In Alabama there has been a war over bingo going on for the past few years. Publicity mad federal prosecutors put the same defendants on trial twice with the same result-acquittal. At the same time the state of Alabama congratulated the Poarch Band of Creek Indians on their plans to build a Las Vegas style casino at Wetumpka.

The laws governing tribal gambling in Alabama say that tribes can only conduct gambling activities that the state permits others to operate. Because Alabama permits bingo games to be held by charities which received funds from the charities the Creek Indians were permitted to open bingo parlors throughout Alabama without donating any of the proceeds to charities.

Alabama citizens such as Milton McGregor started bingo games at facilities such as the Macon County Greyhound Park. The Creek Indians started bingo games at their facilities in Wetumpka, Atmore and other places throughout the state. Former Governor and anti-gambling extremist Bob Riley and other politicians decided that McGregor’s operations at Macon County Greyhound Park, Country Crossing, GreeneTrack and several other locations were illegal. They then sent in law enforcement officers and closed the facilities down and threatened to arrest the operators if they opened again.

Not only are the Creek Indians allowed to continue their bingo games but they have been allowed to expand their gaming options. The Creek Indians are continuing to rake in millions from Alabama bingo players who used to play at Macon County Greyhound Park, Country Crossing, GreeneTrack and several other places and several other locations. The facilities also created thousands of jobs in impoverished areas with high unemployment.

The very same ‘leaders’ who closed the Alabama owned facilities and put thousands of Alabamans out of work signed a full page ad in a Montgomery congratulating the Creek Indians for their plans to offer casino gambling. The bingo games at tribal casinos are not required to be sponsored by any charity to donate any profits to any charities in Alabama. Many in the state feel that Alabama should be encouraging the legislature to pass laws that would allow Alabama citizens to operate similar gambling facilities. Some feel that the politicians have forgotten the thousands who lost their jobs because of Riley’s and attorney general Luther Strange’s grandstanding. There appears to be a glaring double standard in Alabama when it comes to gaming.

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