The VictoryLand casino in Macon County, Alabama was an essential part of the Macon community employing nearly 2,500 employees during its peak in 2010. The casino was forced to shutdown operations in 2013 after the state’s general’s office conducted a raid which led to the seizure of 1,625 slot machines and $263,000 in cash.
Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford recently announced that the VictoryLand casino was finally ready to open its doors to the public and would be launching on September 6. However, Milton McGregor, the owner of the VictoryLand quickly clarified that there had been a bit of a miscommunication between Mayor Ford and Luther Curry, the Chairman of the Macon County Racing Commission and VictoryLand would not open on September 6.
Curry had informed the Mayor after a routine inspection on August 13 at the racetrack that the casino would receive clearance to reopen by September 6. The Mayor assumed that this was the opening date for VictoryLand and confirmed the same in a press release. However McGregor stated that he wasn’t ready to open the casino just yet as he was still in the process of hiring employees and training them.
In a statement, McGregor said “I’d love to tell everyone that we’ll be open by then but in reality, we still have plenty of work to do. No one has been a bigger supporter of us than Johnny Ford, so I know his heart was in the right place – he just got a little excited, I believe. But no harm done. The Mayor’s town has been devastated by us being illegally closed. He wants to put thousands of people back to work and get back to having money to pay city workers.”
The VictoryLand closure was a big blow for Mayor Johnny Ford and the thousands of employees that worked at the casino. Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that a total of 2,343 people left Macon County between 2010 and 2015 as unemployment rates in the county went up significantly.
McGregor revealed that he had received more than 4,000 job applications from people all over Alabama who are interested in working at the casino. Most of the applications came in from Macon county and McGregor confirmed that his team was doing their best to hire and get employees up to speed so that the casino could be opened as soon as possible. McGregor stated that as of now it was too soon for him to confirm a precise launch date but did confirm that the opening will not be too far away from the September 6 date that the Mayor had earlier announced.
Gov. Robert Bentley has introduced a bill in the legislation to allow lotteries in the state and a rival bill was introduced by Republican Sen. Jim McClendon allowing lottery machines at racetrack casinos and dog tracks in Alabama. Should the bill get approval, McGregor would be able to install video lottery terminals at his casino but as of now he is not making any plans for those machines.