On October 2nd, a circuit court judge ruled that the state of Alabama had no cause to take 1,600 electronic bingo machines from the VictoryLand racetrack in Macon County. The confiscation of the gaming machines took place in 2013, at the same time that other facilities in Alabama were operating the same machines, and those facilities were not raided. In a previous raid on the property, as many as 5,000 machines were taken.
After the ruling, Milton McGregor, the owner of the property, stated he has seen as many as 3,500 applications come through for positions at VictoryLand and will be moving ahead with reopening the facility. The ruling by the judge ends one chapter in a five year struggle with the state over the usage of the electronic gambling games.
Just one day after the ruling, McGregor began to conduct interviews with applicants, to begin the process of reopening the facility. The VictoryLand owner says he is working 18 hour days to get ready but says that the reopening process will include gradual growth when compared to the previous size of the facility.
The VictoryLand facility is not in a rush to open as first impressions are important. McGregor wants to have the property just right before reopening. McGregor is also working on the Birmingham Race Course. The goal is to turn the race track into a gaming facility which will include gaming tables and slot machines. To be able to do this, legislature of Alabama will have to allow a vote on a gambling bill which includes the lottery, created by Senator Del Marsh. The bill was introduced by Marsh just a few months ago but was overlooked due to the shortfall issues of the budget, which are in massive proportions.
The bill is most likely to be considered if it returns in 2016. Marsh has yet to state his intentions for reintroducing the bill next year. As one of the only states in the US that does not offer a lottery, the state of Alabama needs to come up with some way to bring in additional tax revenues. Recent polls have shown that Alabamians would like the opportunity to vote on the matter of gambling.