After re-opening on September 13, the VictoryLand entertainment venue with its stable of electronic bingo machines is facing the real prospect of being closed again following a plea from Alabama governor Robert Bentley.
According to a report from local television broadcaster WCBI-TV, the Republican has joined with Luther Strange, the Attorney General for Alabama, to send letters to the sheriffs and district attorneys of Macon County and Lowndes County asking that they assist the pair in shutting the venue near the Montgomery suburb of Shorter as electronic bingo is “clearly disallowed” by state laws.
In their letters, Bentley and Strange requested that they wanted to hear plans on how to force the closure of the Macon County enterprise by the end of the month despite previous statements from sheriffs in both counties that the types of games being enjoyed by VictoryLand patrons are legal under a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2003.
VictoryLand was shuttered in 2013 after state officials seized its 1,615 electronic bingo machines along with some $263,000 in cash over a disagreement as to whether the units were legal. However, it began operations again last week following a favorable decision from Luther Curry, Chairman for the Macon County Racing Commission, and expects to provide employment for up to 200 people.
October saw Alabama Circuit Judge William Shashy rule that voters in Macon County intended that electronic bingo machines be included in the legalization of all forms of bingo when they approved Amendment 744 while he further found that VictoryLand had been treated unfairly and singled out while similar businesses had remained open in the southern state.
This prompted Bentley to sign an executive order in November transferring all gambling enforcement duties away from the office of the Alabama Attorney General and to local sheriffs and attorney generals. March then saw the Alabama Supreme Court overturn Shashy’s decision and rule that it had been essentially impossible to have determined the intent of voters and legislators in approving the amendment 13 years ago.