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Decide in court if bingo machines legal

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2011/01/27 14:30

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has told operators of closed electronic bingo casinos that he has no problem with going to court to determine if their machines are legal.

Operators of casinos closed by former Gov. Bob Riley's gambling task force have said they would like to go to court to prove that their machines are legal according to local constitutional amendments. But the courts have ruled they can't do it unless machines are seized.

The new attorney general said Wednesday he has told the casino operators he would be willing to confiscate some machines and file charges saying the machines were operated illegally. Strange said he could confiscate the machines in a way that they would stay in place at the casino, but could not be operated.

Strange said the machines could be confiscated quietly and would not involve pre-dawn raids by law enforcement officers similar to those attempted by Riley's task force.

He said the result would be a ruling from a judge on the legality of the machines that could be appealed by either side to the Alabama Supreme Court.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Richard Allen said the proposal has been made to casino operators and the AG's office is waiting to get an answer.

An attorney for the closed Country Crossing casino in Dothan said the facility's operators appreciate that Strange is willing to discuss finding a way to get the issue into court.

"We are open to any discussion that might bring this to a resolution short of the midnight Gestapo-type raids," said Doug Jones, an attorney for Country Crossing.


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