Judge Rules Seized Bingo Machines Are Illegal

Bingo Hall RaidLast Thursday a Houston County Alabama judge ruled that electronic bingo machines seized in 2012 at Center Stage casino are illegal slot machines that don’t meet the state’s definition of bingo. The ruling is considered a victory for Alabama attorney General Luther Strange who has wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in his irrational vendetta against bingo. Circuit Judge Michael Conaway issued a 12 page ruling last week. The judge said that the 691 bingo machines that were seized are now the property of the state and can be destroyed. Even worse, the judge ruled that the $288,000 seized during the raid is now the property of the State. The money will go into the state’s general fund.

Conaway described the state’s evidence as clear and compelling. Conaway said the machined failed to meet any of the five criteria used to describe bingo in Alabama. The five criteria are outlined in an Alabama Supreme Court case known as Cornerstone. In his ruling Conaway wrote “It is clear that in this case the test factors identified in the Cornerstone case have not been fulfilled.” In his ruling Conaway cited the five test factors in the Cornerstone decision and explained why he felt that the seized machines did not meet any of the criteria.

Conaway found that the machines did not meet any of the following factors;

An animated bingo card does not meet the requirements listed in Cornerstone.
Bingo numbers are selected by a random number generator and Alabama requires that the numbers are called by a “physical living” announcer.
Numbers do not have to be daubed of manually marked. Conaway write “Indeed daubing is not required until the game is concluded and a winning pattern is identified by the machine.”
Players do not have to display any level of skill and do not have to pay attention to be declared the winner of a game.
The player has no control over the recognition factor. The machine controls the recognition factor.

Conaway wrote in his decision “None of the elements of Cornerstone are complied with by this device. It is illegal gambling cloaked in a “Bingo” costume. This game is not Bingo as the Supreme Court has defined that game.” Center Stage attorney Ernie Hornsby said his client intends to appeal the decision to the Alabama Supreme Court. Bingo fans in Alabama that enjoy the fast paced action of electronic bingo have another option; online bingo. Online bingo games are readily available and there are dozens of sites accepting American players.

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