Complaints concerning local businesses throughout Colbert County, Alabama possibly possessing illegal gambling machines have been received from businesses and concerned citizens.
Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson, working with the district attorney’s office, said that the businesses, which are mostly convenience stores, either remove the illegal gambling machines within seven days, or “face the consequences,” according to The Times Daily.
The businesses involved in the complaint were hand-delivered a letter from District Attorney Bryce Graham Jr. on Friday, according to Williamson. Graham points out in the letter that gambling devices such as “Cherry Master, Eight Linger, or any other video gambling machines or devices” must be removed. According to Alabama gambling law the machines in question at the businesses are illegal, said Graham. The District Attorney also said that possession of an illegal gambling device is considered a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a $2,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Graham also points out in the letter that the illegal gambling machines are “subject to forfeiture,” and can be either disposed of or destroyed.
Graham said, “We’re giving the business owners a chance to get the machines out of their business without being arrested and without the machines being seized,” and, “Basically, we’re asking them nicely. If they are not removed, then they will be removed and the owners will be arrested. It’s that simple.” According to Williamson, his office has been receiving complaints about the illegal machines for about a month.
Slot machines or machines similar to Class II gaming machines have been featured in many “electronic bingo” parlors in Alabama. The laws regarding the devices are constantly changing and vary from county to county. In early 2010, then Governor Bob Riley was responsible for putting together an anti-gambling task force that closed most of those parlors. However, by March of 2010, a determination was made by the Alabama Supreme Court that assembling the task force was beyond the scope of Riley’s office, and that the power rested with the Attorney General’s office, according to Wikipedia. Not soon after Riley’s task force was shelved, cities that had previously passed ordinances allowing and regulating such halls reopened their electronic bingo parlors.
Most notably, Milton McGregor’s VictoryLand casino in Macon County was closed after being raided in 2013 and cash and electronic bingo machines were confiscated. Alabama’s three Poarch Creek casinos did not close. A Supreme Court appointed judge determined that VictoryLand was legal, and an official opening date for the casino is expected to be announced before December 15.