These days, all we hear are layoffs at Twitter, Google, and Amazon. But they aren’t the only ones who recently needed to fire many employees. Macon County’s Victoryland Casino laid off hundreds of employees. Dr. Lewis Benefield, the president of the casino, said that his decision had to be made because the court had ordered the shutting down of electronic bingo games.
Historical horse races instead of bingo:
The casino is planning to replace bingo with historical horse races. Also, the greyhound races are still included in the offer.
The Alabama Supreme Court decided that these games weren’t bingo but illegal slot machines. This put an end to the long battle between the authorities and casinos. During recent years, the bingo operations in casinos have been closing and reopening several times, but it seems it’s the final word in the process for now.
Benefield said: “I’m not going to do what maybe some people have done in the past and say, ‘Hey, screw it. We’re still going to offer it. I’m not going to offer electronic bingo. I’m fully running the thing within the law and what the law allows me to do.”
The laws in Alabama are very strict – almost all forms of gambling are prohibited in the state, with only a few exceptions. Horse and dog racing are allowed, as well as regular bingo, but the electronic one is too similar to the slot games, so it’s still prohibited.
In casinos in Atmore, Montgomery, and Wetumpka, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians still have electronic bingo in their offering. Luther Strange, the former Attorney General, wanted to prohibit it, but the federal court didn’t agree to that, claiming that the state hasn’t jurisdiction over it.
Everything is up to the Alabama Legislature:
There is still hope that all forms of gambling will be approved in Alabama since the voters will have the final word in the decision if the Alabama Legislature approves the plan. A constitutional amendment has been placed, and the legislative session is scheduled for March 7. Nobody knows the amount of support the plan will get, but governor Kay Ivey supports the decision to give the voters a chance to express their opinion regarding the matter.
Gambling proposals in Alabama so far weren’t so successful. Over 180 of them have been rejected since many opponents are out there. Some of them are against the regulation of the lottery because of moral reasons, and others think that this will have a negative impact on low-income people who would buy many tickets in order to get rich easily.
Benefield pointed out the number of electronic bingo machines in Jefferson County, saying that all of them are illegal. He said: “By my count, there are about 20.000 electronic bingo machines in Jefferson County, and I think they’re all illegal. If I thought they were legal, I’d be offering them at the Birmingham Race Course, and I don’t. I think electronic bingo is illegal in Jefferson County.”