New Shots Fired in Great Alabama Bingo War

Alabama’s war against demon bingo is still in full swing. On Friday the attorney general stole, I mean seized, $283,000 in cash from an Alabama casino that had the temerity to offer customers electronic bingo games. Attorney general Luther Strange has asked a judge to allow him to turn the money over to the state treasury and destroy the demonic bingo machines seized in the raid. Strange filed court papers asking Houston County Circuit Judge Larry Anderson to rule that the money and the machines “constituted gambling devices and slot machines” which are illegal in Alabama.

Strange said that officers seized $283,657 in cash during the raid and removed 691 computer terminals, servers and other pieces of gaming equipment. At first Strange had no comment on the amount of cash seized but confirmed a comment he made after the raid that the casinos “stand to make millions of dollars.” A lawyer for the casino’s operator, Houston Economic Development Association, said that the court filing was the first time the owners knew how much cash was seized. Attorney Ernie Hornsby said that the seized cash came from the games and included revenues generated by the restaurant, bar and legal paper bingo games. Hornsby told reporters “You have to keep a fair amount of cash on hand to pay your winnings.”

Hornsby said that the casino believes that the electronic bingo games were legal and will ask the judge to direct the attorney general to show why he believes the games are illegal. Hornsby said “They tell us its contraband, but they don’t tell us why.” Assistant Attorney General Sonny Reagan said that the state intends to prove the games are illegal. Reagan stated “At this point, the state will be required to prove that all items seized were illegal gambling machines or devices and that all money seized were proceeds from illegal gambling. Any party with an interest in the seized items may intervene in the case and argue their defense to the court.”

All of the casino’s operations were closed after the raid but its paper bingo, restaurant and bar reopened Friday afternoon. The Center Stage casino opened last July in the old Country Crossing location with different management. The casino provides many jobs in an impoverished area with high unemployment. No arrests were made but it appears that Alabama’s attorney general is grandstanding again with no consideration for those who will lose their jobs because of these unnecessary raids.