At least one Alabama casino hasn’t given up its legal battle to support electronic bingo games. This was after the state Supreme Court ruled that the machines constitute illegal gambling.
In a unanimous 7-0 ruling announced late last month, the Alabama Supreme Court confirmed Attorney General Steve Marshall (right). He believes that electronic bingo machines operating in Macon and Lowndes counties are prohibited by state law.
Voters in those two counties passed local ordinances allowing charity games 25 years ago. Both counties are among the poorest areas in the state in terms of median family income.
An attorney representing Victoryland, an electronic bingo casino in Shorter, Macon, said the court’s ruling will force the county’s largest employer to lay off workers. The casino also claims that various charities supported by its bingo machines will also pay the Supreme Court ruling.
The Whitehall Leisure Center in Whitehall and the Southern Star Leisure Center in Heinville (both in Lowndes) are also affected by the High Court ruling.
Alabama prohibits commercial gambling in casinos or tribal casinos with slot machines, table games, or Las Vegas-style sports betting. Only the Porch Band of the Creek Indians has the legal right under federal and state law to operate Class I and II games, including bingo-based games, in its sovereignty.
The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that charity games at three commercial electronic bingo halls in Macon and Lowndes are actually illegal slot machines. Victoryland’s defense team has requested that the court reconsider its opinion and take its time in making a decision.
Given the grave and devastating consequences resulting from the Court’s finding, Victoryland kindly requests that the Court be given an opportunity to hear its motion to extend the time for the injunction to take effect.
Bingo Casino says that it regularly supports 75 charities, including schools, churches and first responders. Victoryland also claims that gaming on its properties benefits county and city resources, including the Tuskegee Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Tuskegee Housing Authority, and the Macon County Health Department.
wrong bingo machine name
Marshall argues that bingo terminals in casinos and entertainment centers should be called slot machines.
Under current Alabama law, there is no such thing as electronic bingo. They’re actually slot machines, and slot machines are illegal in Alabama,” Marshall previously said.
In a September ruling, the Alabama Supreme Court agreed with Marshall. The court ruled that Victoryland, Whitehall and Southern Star offered “illegal gambling” to their guests.
In its ruling, the state Supreme Court ordered a lower district court to order three companies to stop using electronic gaming machines within 30 days. Victoryland’s petition for a new trial includes a request that the court stay the September decision until at least Christmas.