Alabama AG Files Lawsuits to Shut Down ‘Illegal’ Electronic Bingo Machines
Alabama’s Attorney General Steve Marshall filed lawsuits in five countries against electronic bingo casinos using illegal slot machines. These lawsuits went live in Greene, Houston, Macon, Morgan and Lowndes. Marshall asked circuit courts in those counties to issue injunctions. These would put a stop to unlawful gambling operations as long as the lawsuits are in the works. He asked to courts to declare these casino’s public annoyances and bar them from operating these types of games.
Marshall said that it is his obligation as Attorney General to make sure the laws are applied. This includes laws that ban illegal gambling. He also said that the Alabama Supreme Court was clear with their multiple rulings. Namely, electronic bingo slot machines are illegal in all counties in Alabama. The lawsuit revived a legal battle against electronic bingo machines. These look and play in a similar way to slots, which are illegal in Alabama, too.
Bingo & Slots in Different Categories
Casino operators, on the other hand, claim that the games are legal. They base this opinion on constitutional amendments that voters approved. They also add that these electronic bingo games were either identical or similar to those available at casinos run by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama. However, the Supreme Court ruled electronic bingo machines didn’t fit the same definition as traditional bingo.
One of the casinos named in the lawsuit is the VictoryLand casino. The casino operates in Macon County and it reopened on September 2016. It was defunct for over 3 years after state authorities raided the casino. VictoryLand is one of the defendants in the lawsuit. The owner of VictoryLand, Milton McGregor, has stated that voters wouldn’t vote for Marshall at the election for a full term in the coming year. He announced that VictoryLand intends to continue to keep on fighting for its employees and the citizens of Macon County and east Alabama.
Casinos Intend to Fight
The CEO of another casino from the lawsuit, Luther Winn Jr. of Greenetrack, stated that they would fight the lawsuit as well. He said they intended to protect the amendments the voters of the county have ratified, making these games legal. According to the Winn Jr., shutting down these casinos would have serious negative effects. These include risking the jobs and livelihood of 115 people. These people could become a burden on the county and the state if the lawsuit went through.
One side, backed by Sheriff Benison, states that their claims rely on constitutional amendments and the county citizens. The Attorney General, however, banks on multiple rulings and findings in the inquires by agents that took an all-encompassing legal approach. There are also civil complaints because these facilities did not offer bingo games. Instead, offered games were more similar to slot machines.
The final result of the lawsuit still hangs in the balance as this issue unfolds.
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