Supreme Court: Electronic Bingo Illegal in Alabama

AlabamaThe Attorney General of Alabama, Luther Strange announced this week that the state’s Supreme Court has ruled for the second time that electronic bingo is illegal. Although a lower court took the side of Greenetrack and said that the state may not destroy seized equipment belonging to the casino, in the case State of Alabama v. 825 Electronic Gambling Devices et al (Greenetrack), the Supreme Court ruled that the electronic bingo machines may be destroyed after all.

The state seized 825 electronic bingo machines from Greenetrack, arguing that they amounted to slot machines which are illegal in Alabama. The casino continued to argue that the machines were protected under laws that managed bingo. However, the Supreme Court was not in agreement with the casino.”

“There is no longer any room for uncertainty, nor justification for continuing dispute, as to the meaning of [the term ‘bingo’]. And certainly the need for any further expenditure of judicial resources, including the resources of this Court, to examine this issue is at an end. All that is left is for the law of this State to be enforced,” the Supreme Court said.

The Supreme Court also ruled that individuals in the state of Alabama have the right to sue illegal gambling institutions. Three women have claimed that they were cheated at Victoryland, another Alabama based gaming hall, after the casino denied paying them out jackpots. Casino workers told the women that the games were malfunctioning. Victoryland argued that claims were required to be settled out of court by an arbitration system, however the Supreme Court said that since the games were considered illegal in the first place, the casino’s claims had no standing.

As a result of these two rulings, AG Luther Strange said that, without a shadow of doubt, electronic bingo gambling is an illegal pastime in Alabama.

“Local sheriffs and police officers in most parts of the State are enforcing our gambling laws,” said Strange. “The sheriffs in Greene and Macon counties must uphold their sworn duty to enforce the law as interpreted by the Supreme Court and not continue to sanction this illegal activity. As I have previously stated, my office stands ready to render any required assistance to enable them to carry out their legal duties.”

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