New Court Ruling on Bingo Machines

The State Supreme Court struck down a preliminary injunction that, until now, kept the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling from conducting another raid of White Hall Resort and Entertainment Center.

It's another blow to bingo and now, the Governor, Country Crossing attorneys and local leaders are speaking out.

"I am 100% behind Country Crossing,” Governor Riley said at an event recently.

Country Crossing Attorney Jay Walker told News 4 tonight, "This is about the 3rd time we've heard a statement from Governor Riley's office that says there's a definitive ruling after a while people got to understand, he just crying wolf one more time."

It's been a continuous issue of contention. A question the courts have been wrestling for months: are electronic bingo machines legal in Alabama?

You may remember, the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling raided the center in White Hall in March seizing more than 100-machines.

The charitable organization that operates the facility...got the preliminary injunction against future raids.

But, today, the State Supreme Court overturned that in a 6-3 decision, opening the door for more questions about the legality of electronic machines in the state and leaving many to wonder what this means for Country Crossing.

"In it, it talks about bingo being legal and it issues 6 stipulations we must follow to be legal," Walker told us.

But, the governor doesn't agree. His office issued a statement today saying, "This ruling from the Supreme Court makes clear that electronic bingo machines are illegal and it's time for them to go."

But, Country Crossing attorney's are fighting back.

"There is no way a lawyer can read that ruling and discern that electronic bingo is illegal," Walker said.

Locally, Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver says he's staying within the law. In an email statement to News 4, he said, "The guidelines established today will be used to make sure any operation is legal," and that, "The operators at Country Crossing" have assured him their machines will comply with the Supreme Court guidelines."

"We're as legal today as we were yesterday," Walker said.

Chairman Culver went on to say that he's concerned that the Governor's office continues to take, what he calls, “joy in the potential loss of thousands of Alabama jobs at a time when unemployment” continues to grow. He also admonished the administration for, as he put it, "gloating over what they misinterpret."


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