SHORTER, AL (WBRC) – Several conflicts are coming to a head in courts over electronic bingo in Alabama.
The Victoryland gaming center is closed in Macon County. Owner Milton McGregor says it has been shut down for computer upgrades. The closure comes just days after an attempted raid by the state's anti-gambling task force. Owner Milton McGregor says this closure is part of fully complying a State Supreme Court order that outlines what legal bingo is in Alabama.
McGregor says the machines that have been modified have been certified by an internationally recognized testing company, the same company, he says, that does work for the FBI. He says complying has cost him about half of his business because of the way as for when Quincy's 777 will reopen, McGregor says he hopes it will be soon.
At 4:00 p.m. Monday afternoon, Victoryland filed papers with the Alabama Supreme Court supporting the restraining order that stopped the governor's task force from raiding it. The task force has until Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. to file a response. The high court is expected to rule quickly, perhaps as early as Wednesday. So far, the justices have sided with the governor in at least three cases, declaring bingo machines are illegal.
Meanwhile, a federal judge denied a request for a temporary restraining order to prevent a raid at Country Crossing in Houston County. Judge Myron Thompson asked both parties to resolve their issues in state court.
Task force commander John Tyson says state police will return to Country Crossing if it re-opens and there is any criminal activity there.
"There is no reason to come down here in attack format to prove they are illegal. You can come walk inside and look at them," says Houston County Commissioner Mark Culver. "Let's go to court and let civil process take place to determine whether they are legal or not and then go on from there."
Lawyers for Country Crossing also filed a motion to have John Tyson removed from the governor's task force.
In Etowah County, a judge has set a trial date over electronic bingo.
The county's commissioners and developers want to locate a major electronic bingo resort near Attalla.
On Monday, attorneys were in court for a hearing on a lawsuit filed by the county district attorney. Judge Allen Millican tells developers to have two bingo machines and a server in the courthouse no later than February 22nd for a March 3rd trial date.