Federal judge questions Victoryland's charitable efforts

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - According to a federal judge, Victoryland is not giving much to charities. U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins issued a order in June involving a lawsuit against Victoryland owner Milton McGregor.

Watkins' order says Victoryland made $125 million in profits in 2008 but paid only $1.3 million to charities. "It's a gross disparity and what we are pleased about we will have a chance to to go to trial. There will be illumination in the courthouse  to a lot more facts." Stephen Henniger, attorney for Lucky Palace said.

Henniger represents Lucky Palace which wants to open a competing electronic bingo operation in Macon County. Henniger sued McGregor and Macon County Sheriff David Warren in a lawsuit of rigging bingo regulations to favor McGregor and to deter competition. "It says as long as you have a fair playing field, depending on how you field about gambling, bingo can be good for the community and charities." Henniger said.

Governor Bob  Riley remains a strong opponent of electronic bingo.

Riley is pushing his illegal gambling task for to shut down bingo operators including Victoryland.

Riley's communication director, Jeff Emerson, says the judge's order shows bingo operators want to keep most of the profits. "So-called charitable operations like to pat themselves on the back and talk about all the millions they give charities, ought to feel outrage because they are getting shafted." Emerson said.

Attorneys for McGregor say those figures do not include expenses. Attorney, Mark White, says much of Victoryland's profits go back into the gaming center and Victoryland remains a major employers and revenue producer for Macon County.

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