Undercover officer: Gaming machines that can be played blindfolded aren't bingo

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The undercover officer who obtained a search warrant for a planned raid at the Country Crossing gambling hall in Dothan said its electronic machines aren't bingo because they can be played blindfolded.

In papers filed in federal court Monday, Lt. Mike Reese of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board said he is the officer who obtained search warrants for a successful raid of a gambling hall in White Hall on March 19 and for a raid at Country Crossing on Jan. 6 that was blocked by a judge.

Reese, a member of Gov. Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling, told the court the Country Crossing games don't meet any of the standards for player interaction that the Alabama Supreme Court laid out in the White Hall case, including marking numbers and recognizing a winning card.

"In fact, once money is inserted, the game can be played blindfolded or with the eyes closed by simply pressing the button three times, and can be played without ever looking at the bingo card," Reese said in an affidavit presented to U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson.

Reese's search warrant for the Jan. 6 raid expired without ever being used. The task force is now fighting in court with Country Crossing's attorneys over whether the task force can stage a new raid on the gambling hall's 1,700 machines. A planned raid last Friday was called off when a judge sought more information before issuing a new search warrant.

Country Crossings' attorneys asked Thompson on Monday to block a raid, while the task force argued that one should be allowed.

In a related development, attorneys for VictoryLand at Shorter sought to maintain a temporary restraining order issued Friday that blocked the task force from raiding its casino, which has about 6,400 electronic bingo machines. The task force asked the Alabama Supreme Court to lift the order, and VictoryLand was filing pleadings with the high court Monday to let the order stand.

Attorneys for Country Crossings maintain the games at its casino are legal and that the gambling hall, plus adjoining restaurants and inn, provide badly needed jobs to more than 1,000 people in southeast Alabama.

Task Force Commander John Tyson argued that the federal court should not interfere because there is no constitutional right to profit from illegal gambling.

Attorneys said Thompson indicated he hoped to rule by late Monday afternoon.

Country Crossing has been closed since early Friday in an effort to prevent another raid. Developer Ronnnie Gilley said he plans to reopen immediately if the federal judge blocks a raid.

(The Associated Press.)


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  • by mary Location: marianna on Feb 2, 2010 at 08:59 PM
    Go home Mr Tyson and take care of your bingo in Atmore and take this Riley person with you. I have been to country Crossing 3 times and i have yet to see anyone playing blindfolded or with their eyes closed because there is no way you can win if you did.You and your people need to stick to the facts.I would like to know how this came to be done after the place was up and running.I'm sure when the permits were applied for they did not say they were applying for ice cream parlors and a walking park
  • by Scott Location: Dothan on Feb 2, 2010 at 03:44 PM
    If gambling is a sin, let the Almighty judge you, not Governor Riley or John Tyson. IT IS STRANGE THAT THIS WAS NOT IRONED OUT PRIOR TO ALL THE MONEY AND CONSTRUCTION THAT WAS SPENT UP TO THIS POINT. RILEY & TYSON NEED TO BE FIRED.
  • by Louise Location: Dothan on Feb 2, 2010 at 03:37 PM
    I think that the situation at Country Crossing should be put on the ballot to be voted on. If people are going to gamble, why not keep the money in our state. You can certainly drive to Florida to spend those dollars and help their roads & schools. We need to keep Alabama funds in Alabama. Wake Up!!
  • by unknown Location: Geneva County on Feb 2, 2010 at 06:52 AM
    I kind of find it humerous that all of you "Gene's" are probably the same obnoxious and ignorant people that complain about all of the people "you are supporting" on welfare! Do you not clearly see how CC has helped the people of the Wiregrass so they do not have to rely on welfare? I also think this is so not about Legal or Illegal gambling anymore, it is about an Ignorant man that WE THE PEOPLE elected as our Governor wanting to push the people of South Alabama around and show his authority as well as show us that he does not, has not and will not ever care what WE THE PEOPLE want! Ronnie you all have so many supporters that value & appreciate everything that you have done for the Wiregrass with the exception of a few Ignorant people. Keep up the good work!
  • by DC Location: Dothan on Feb 2, 2010 at 05:21 AM
    HIGH FIVE SHANNON !!!
  • by cat Location: Headland ala on Feb 1, 2010 at 11:42 PM
    gene your right. cc people will say anything to made it look right
  • by Sheila Location: Taylor on Feb 1, 2010 at 06:33 PM
    Maybe this undercover officer should check all the people in Alabama that have insurance, 401ks buy raffle tickets and so on! Every day we gamble in some way! And please do not reply and say these are not the samething! Wrong!I have done my homework check out on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambling#Types of gambling
  • by James Location: Kinston on Feb 1, 2010 at 05:54 PM
    Let's see what happens in Macon County with there bingo. The task force don't shut them down tomorrow everyone in the state should understand what this was really about PROFIT AND ONE MAN'S PROFIT. Ronnie has not done anything that has not been done before in Alabama where Bingo is legal. Some people have foregot that they voted for bingo.
  • by jim Location: local on Feb 1, 2010 at 05:54 PM
    STOP CALLING THESE BINGO MACHINES. THESE ARE SLOT MACHINES. CASINO, BINGO HALL, BINGO PAVILION. IF JOBS ARE SO IMPORTANT THEN WHY AREN'T THE THREE RESTAURANTS IN COUNTRY CROSSING NOT OPENED TO HELP SEVERAL HUNDRED EMPLOYEES BACK TO WORK????
  • by Helen on Feb 1, 2010 at 05:51 PM
    you tell'em shannon...tell'em like it is....I'm on your side. I have played at CC..and I like it.
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