An announcement by Milton McGregor on WBRC Good Day Alabama on Friday may mean that the end is near for the journey towards reopening the VictoryLand casino in Macon County, Alabama.
While McGregor had hoped to be able to reopen VictoryLand in time for Christmas, the owner said that in two weeks he will announce when the facility will reopen, according to Channel 12 WFSA.
Expected to help boost the economy of the depressed Black Belt region of Alabama, roughly 2,000 people from Macon and its surrounding communities are to be hired by VictoryLand. Renovations at the establishment are ongoing as are negotiations with vendors for the return of electronic bingo machines.
Milton McGregor has fought long and hard to have his casino reopened ever since a 2013 state raid that took place at VictoryLand, shutting down the electronic bingo facility and seizing just over 1,600 gaming machines and about $260,000 in cash. Then in June, Alabama Circuit Judge William Shashy ruled that voters in Macon County who approved Amendment 744 in 2003 intended that electronic bingo be included in the legalization of all forms of bingo. The judge further ruled that VictoryLand casino had been treated unfairly and singled out by the Alabama Attorney General’s Office for prosecution while other similar businesses remained open in the state. The case was dismissed and the machines were ordered to be returned by November 16.
However, on November 9, 2015, the Alabama Supreme Court granted Attorney General Luther Strange’s request and blocked the circuit court judge’s order stating the state must return the gambling machines seized from VictoryLand during the 2013 raid. The eight justice’s decision allows, for now, the state to keep control of the seized assets until the high court can rule on the AG’s appeal.
Since then, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed an executive order saying that gambling enforcement should be handled by district attorneys and local sheriffs, the Macon County Sheriff ‘s office has stated that it will protect the casino’s right to operate the electronic bingo games that the people of the county voted for, and of course an appeal was filed by Alabama AG Strange with the state Supreme Court .