Riley appeals White Hall gaming decision
The judge appointed to oversee the case, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Mark Kennedy, ruled on Saturday that the White Hall Resort and Entertainment Center could reopen without the threat of the governor's task force on illegal gambling raiding the site again.
David Barber, commander of the task force, and other law enforcement recently led a raid on the center, taking more than 100 machines and $560,000 in cash. Kennedy also ordered the property to be returned.
Riley had asked Kennedy to recuse himself because of his work as project manager for the Wind Creek Casino in Atmore. The governor's office believes the case could affect the legality of machines operated at Indian casinos in the state.
“The judge has an obvious conflict of interest,” said Jeff Emerson, communications director for Riley. “He has a business relationship with a casino and should never have of issued any kind of ruling in this gambling case. We have asked the Supreme Court to recognize that and we’re confident they will.”
The petition filed by Riley's office asks for the Supreme Court to throw out Kennedy's' preliminary injunction because Kennedy did not recuse himself and did not fully disclose any connections to gambling interests.
The action is the latest in an intensifying fight over gambling in Alabama.
Riley created the task force aimed at taking a test case to the Alabama Supreme Court in hopes of a ruling that many of the machines in Alabama would be ruled illegal slot machines.
Barber and Riley believe the machines in White Hall are slot machines.
State lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would make electronic bingo legal at specific points of destination in the state. The bill would also tax and regulate gambling.
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen