Court rules against gambling machines return to VictoryLand
The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled against VictoryLand casino saying electronic gambling machines seized there in 2013 are illegal.
Justices issued the opinion Thursday. The court says the electronic bingo machines, which resemble slot machines, we're not what was intended by state laws allowing card and paper type bingo games.
Justices wrote that they hoped this was the final decision in the state's lone-running legal war over the gambling devices.
The court ruled that the state could keep machines and money seized at the Macon County casino during a 2013 state raid.
A circuit judge had previously ruled that it was unfair for the state to take action against VictoryLand when other bingo casinos remained open.
Attorney General Luther Strange hailed the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision Thursday against VictoryLand as a resounding victory for the rule of law and the definitive word that electronic bingo is illegal in Alabama.
“The Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling is abundantly clear that electronic bingo is illegal and repeated court challenges to the contrary will not change that fact,” said Attorney General Strange. “I cannot say it any better than the court itself.”
The Alabama Supreme Court ruling observed:
“Today's decision is the latest, and hopefully the last, chapter in the more than six years' worth of attempts to defy the Alabama Constitution's ban on "lotteries." It is the latest, and hopefully the last, chapter in the ongoing saga of attempts to defy the clear and repeated holdings of this Court beginning in 2009 that electronic machines like those at issue here are not the "bingo" referenced in local bingo amendments. It is the latest, and hopefully the last, chapter in the failure of some local law-enforcement officials in this State to enforce the anti-gambling laws of this State they are sworn to uphold, thereby necessitating the exercise and performance by the attorney general of the authority and duty vested in him by law, as the chief law-enforcement officer of this State, to enforce the criminal laws of this State. And finally, it is the latest, and hopefully last, instance in which it is necessary to expend public funds to seek appellate review of the meaning of a simple term -- "bingo" – which, as reviewed above, has been declared over and over and over again by this Court. There is no longer any room for uncertainty, nor justification for continuing dispute, as to the meaning of that term. And certainly the need for any further expenditure of judicial resources, including the resources of this Court, to examine this issue is at an end. All that is left is for the law of this State to be enforced.”
Attorney General Strange added, “I consider the work of my office in bringing the issue of electronic gambling to the courts for final judgement to now be complete. It is now up to the Governor, ALEA, and local authorities to ensure that the law is properly enforced.
“I am proud of the work of the many local law enforcement jurisdictions who have performed their duty to enforce our laws and I am equally proud of my legal team in bringing this case and the question of electronic bingo to a successful conclusion.”
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