Another Alabama Bingo Battle Shaping Up

Recently Alabama casino operator was acquitted by a federal jury on charges brought by vindictive federal prosecutors. Casino operator McGregor was accused of buying and selling votes to protect electronic bingo machines. McGregor plans on reopening his VictoryLand casino and told reporters “Now I’m focused on getting 3,000 people back to work and charities and governmental agencies receiving revenue, as they should have been all the time.” Another legal battle is shaping up and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has vowed to shut down and electronic bingo operations in the state.

Strange laid out his position and told reporters “This is not about whether I believe gambling is good or bad. This is about the rule of law, pure and simple. When the Alabama Supreme Court makes a ruling, it is my job and my duty to uphold the rule of law. The Alabama Supreme Court has been crystal clear about what is legal in Alabama when it comes to so-called ‘electronic bingo. The only form of bingo authorized by any amendment to the Alabama Constitution is the traditional game commonly known as bingo. The six mandatory characteristics of bingo set forth by the Alabama Supreme Court in the 2010 Cornerstone case, which plainly requires that the human elements of the traditional game of bingo must be fully preserved in order for a game to potentially qualify as legal bingo, will be strictly followed.”

Despite Strange’s posturing McGregor plans on reopening in a few months and will try to gain back players he lost to tribal casinos. McGregor’s operation was the largest electronic bingo operation in the United States and had 6,400 bingo machines. McGregor said he wanted to get back in business and give Indian casinos competition. McGregor stated “We are entitled to the same thing the Native Americans have in Montgomery, Wetumpka and Atmore. The difference is we pay city, county and state taxes.” McGregor has good reason to be cautious. AG Strange told reporters “Those currently engaged in illegal gambling activities or contemplating opening an illegal gambling facility under the guise of so-called ‘electronic bingo’ should be aware that this office will continue to enforce the law, period.”

As things stand now it looks like another protracted bingo battle will take place at no little expense to Alabama taxpayers. Prosecuting McGregor and putting thousands out of work in a state with high unemployment rates makes no sense at all.