Alabama’s Governor, Bob Riley recently created a ‘task force on illegal gambling’ to determine if all of the Bingo establishments in Alabama are, in fact, abiding by the state’s laws and constitution, and to eliminate any whose activities would fall into the category of illegal gambling. These investigations would be state wide, including the Birmingham area
This has aroused considerable criticism and grumbling from the pro-gambling advocates as might be expected. Even the state’s attorney general, Troy King, has voiced some displeasure over the governor established task force, questioning his authority to do so, since it appears under state law that such would fall under the authority of the attorney general’s office.
The task force has encountered legal problems as some have filed for, and received, restraining orders, throwing the responsibility upon the courts to decide whether or not the suspected businesses are breaking the law. The task force, has had undercover agents penetrate and participate in the various activities and have deemed some to be illegal.
Now with the intervention of the courts, the outcome of these casinos is questionable and probably many months from any resolution. Many have voiced a cry for a statewide vote concerning certain types of gambling. And some have indicated that polls show that the public is in favor of certain types of legalized gambling.
The polls, if they have been taken and publicized, may or my not be indicative of the pulse of the public. Vocal advocates for the legalized gambling were saying the same thing in 1999, when a state wide vote was permitted and was defeated by 54 to 46 percent. Those who were for the bill, were stunned since all indicators they had shown victory.
The largest Bingo casino in the state, the Victoryland Electronic Bingo complex located at 8680 County Road 40, Shorter Alabama near I-85, had been on the task force list where investigation had indicated there were incidents of illegal gambling, but were stopped by court order. State troopers were deployed along with trucks to remove the electronic devices, arriving at 4:00 a.m. On January 29, but after 4 hours, left without incident, having been informed restraining order by the local judge.
There exists some gambling casinos in Alabama’s Indian territories. The newest one, the Wind Creek Casino, owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, opened on January 5, to a full house.
“After a months-long advertising blitz, Wind Creek Casino opened for business Tuesday to a capacity crowd of 3,000 visitors, who kept the resort’s bingo machines busy and restaurants full“, managers said. (Casino City Times-as reported by the Press-Register)
This casino reported they had a $15,000 winner within 15 minutes on opening day. It is likely that the ultimate result of all this is, at present, unknown. But there is a probable future statewide vote again to settle the issue…for a while.