In the seemingly never-ending battle over the operation of electronic bingo machines in the state of Alabama, on Wednesday, Circuit Judge Houston L. Brown gave the state 30 days to return 825 gambling machines to Greenetrack, which were seized during a raid in 2010, according to the Associated Press.
In his ruling, the judge found that the machines are in compliance with a 2003 amendment to the state’s constitution, which authorizes bingo by way of “electronic marking machine” in Greene County. Luther “Nat” Winn, CEO of Greenetrack, praised the decision and said that he hopes that Judge Brown’s decision is respected by the state attorney general, Luther Strange.
In a comment to ABC’s 33/40, Attorney General Strange said, “The Greene County Circuit Court’s decision in the Greenetrack case ignores the law as made crystal clear by the Alabama Supreme Court as recently as March 31. As in the other illegal gambling cases, we will file a motion to stay the ruling and follow that with an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court and abide by its final decision.”
The judge’s decision comes on the heels of the recent failure of a proposed amendment sponsored by Sen. Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro), which would once and for all clarify that Greenetrack in Greene County and VictoryLand in Macon County would be within the law to operate electronic bingo machines. While the current decision could be considered a win for Greenetrack, the March 31 written ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court left no doubt where the Court stands on the issue; stating that its decision is in keeping with the Alabama Constitution, which states that the electronic gambling devices are illegal, and that the electronic machines currently at issue are not the ones referenced in the local bingo amendments.
Meanwhile, after the ruling handed down by the Alabama Supreme Court on March 31 overturning a lower court’s ruling issued in June 2015, ruling against Milton McGregor’s VictoryLand in a forfeiture case, VictoryLand’s legal team said that rather than appeal the decision it will instead look to either federal court or to the United States Supreme Court for relief. McGregor said, “There is no need to go before that corrupt Bob Riley court again, because everyone in the state knows what the outcome would be.”
McGregor plans to reopen this summer, despite the recent order. He’ll reopen with around 1,000 employees and a few hundred bingo machines.