On Thursday night, a town hall meeting was held at the Tuskegee Municipal Complex in Alabama, where various town officials, including Sheriff Andre Brunson, as well as owner Milton McGregor, and Mayor Johnny Ford met with the community to talk about the future of VictoryLand Casino.
To a packed house, Mayor Ford said, “We plan to fight for it and stand up for it. Our message to the Attorney General and anyone who tries to shut it down, they are going to have to march over us first,” according to the Alabama News Network. Everyone in attendance made it clear that they are ready for the casino to reopen its doors. And owner Milton McGregor, who received a standing ovation, said that despite a March 31 Alabama Supreme Court ruling against VictoryLand they are on track to reopen the casino sometime this summer.
At the meeting, the extent of the devastation the closing of the casino has had on government entities, schools, and the local economy was stressed by local leaders. During the meeting, the chairman of the Bullock County Commission said that the casino’s closing hasn’t just affected Macon County; he said it’s a “regional thing.” McGregor also made mention of his legal battle and cleared up a rumor regarding personal information belonging to VictoryLand job applicants being lost. He said, “I got several calls from people saying we understand that the computers at VictoryLand crashed and everybody that has applied, that all of that went away and they’re going to have to reapply. Nothing could be further from the truth,” as reported by WFSA 12 News.
While excited about the reopening, McGregor said that won’t happen until everything has been tested and certified, and the district attorney and sheriff are completely satisfied that the machines comply with the constitutional amendment. Once that happens, the hiring process and training can begin. McGregor went on to say that “VictoryLand is a homegrown industry that we voted on. It is unfair how VictoryLand has been treated,” he said. “We’re not going to look back. We have 2000 jobs. We have millions of dollars that we need for our schools, our city, our county, and we’re going to fight for that. That’s the message we’re sending to the Attorney General and the rest of the state.”
On April 19, a bill that would have allowed VictoryLand to use the same electronic bingo machines as the Poarch Band of Creek Indians use in their gaming establishments was shot down in the Alabama Senate. Three years ago, VictoryLand was shut down by the state’s attorney general’s office and $263,000 in cash and 1,615 machines were seized.