The Alabama lawsuit against a casino and its owner continues onward. Lucky Palace casino and 15 charities wanted to run a charitable bingo hall in Macon County. No dice said the sheriff. The Federal jury had something else to say. $64 million was awarded against VictoryLand Casino and owner Milton McGregor. U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins, the sitting judge during the trial, has not determined whether the huge verdict will be adjusted or go to the appeals court unaltered.
Millions of Dollars in a Bingo Conspiracy
A $64 million verdict is a clear indication of the worth and popularity of charitable Bingo! This case is not languishing: The conspiracy charges against the casino, McGregor and the sheriff have been dropped. The entire case against the sheriff has also gone by the wayside. According to James Anderson, the attorney for the sheriff, and Bob Spotswood, Plaintiffs’ counsel, the removal of the conspiracy charges and sheriff will have no affect on the mega-million dollar Bingo verdict.
Since the conspiracy allegations have been dropped, one wonders what is left of the intentional interference with a competing bingo hall’s efforts to open its door across the street from VictoryLand. How did an intentional interference occur when there was no conspiracy to interfere? Certainly no one physically prevented the construction of the competing casino building.
The case was filed by 15 charities and Lucky Palace casino after the sheriff refused to issue a charitable electronic bingo license to the competing casino. That lawsuit alleged that VictoryLand, McGregor and the sheriff conspired to prevent another casino from becoming a reality in Macon County. Now the sheriff and the conspiracy allegation are dead issues. Hopefully the Federal Judge can figure it out before the appellate court gets ahold of the case.
Electronic Bingo and Governor Bob Riley
Until 2010, VictoryLand was apparently extremely successful. That casino stood alone as the only gaming enterprise in Macon County. In fact, it was No. 1 in size in the entire state. However, the complete stock of 6,400 electronic games at VictoryLand were terminated in 2010. Those games had been established as “electronic bingo”, but were determined by former Governor Bob Riley to be illegal slots.
With the end of electronic gaming at VictoryLand, McGregor closed his restaurants, hotel and live dog racing enterprise. The evidence at trial indicated that the revenue from horse and dog racing simulcasts has not been sufficient to pay either the property taxes or loan for the construction of the $200 million complex.
Macon County Sheriff David Warren
The Federal jury verdict found that the sheriff had misunderstood the county rules pertaining to the establishment of electronic bingo casinos. No financial damages were assessed against him. None of the litigants objected to Anderson’s motion requesting that the sheriff be dropped from the lawsuit. Warren is obviously relieved by his release from the case.
Anderson has commented that the sheriff wants to jump start the gaming industry in Macon County. Sheriff Warren also wants a clarification of the requirements for operating charitable bingo. In particular, Warren needs a clear definition of the requirement of contributing a “substantial investment” in his county: No cheap metal buildings for him!
Electronic Bingo in Alabama
Electronic bingo is being run in Wetumpka, Montgomery and Atmore by the Poarch Creek Indians. Games are operated privately in White Hall, Eutaw and Dothan. However, Mississippi owns the table games as none are to be found in Alabama.