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Monday, November 16, 2009

Riley sends threatening letters to gaming commissions

Gov. Bob Riley has sent a letter to gaming commissions in other states informing them of a recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling on electronic bingo machines and stating "we intend to prosecute violations of our law to the fullest extent."

After the Friday decision from the state's highest court, Riley sent the letter to the gaming commissions of Nevada, New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arizona. His intention, according to a release from his office, is to urge the "commissions to make sure the gambling machine manufacturers they regulate cease all illegal activity in Alabama."

"The Supreme Court's ruling is crystal clear. All these so-called electronic bingo machines are illegal in Alabama and it's time for them to go," Riley said. "We warned the gambling commissions and the slot machine manufacturers almost a year ago that these machines are illegal, so the Supreme Court's ruling can't be a surprise to them. It certainly isn't to us.

"This ruling has statewide authority. It references every bingo amendment in Alabama and provides a clear and precise definition of bingo that applies to every county," the governor said. "What we've told the commissions is they need to make sure the manufacturers that operate under their jurisdiction are complying with the law in Alabama."

The Alabama Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, did not strike down electronic bingo in Alabama, but did clarify the definition of bingo and did overrule a preliminary injunction that kept Riley's task force on illegal gaming from raiding the facility in White Hall again. The opinion stated there was little chance that the charity that operates the facility could convince the court that the machines seized there were legal bingo machines.

Riley's task force seized more than 100 machines and more than $560,000 in a raid at the White Hall Resort and Entertainment Center along U.S. 80, about 20 miles west of Montgomery.

Riley is claiming a victory as the ruling, although not final, defines bingo and demonstrates the "so-called electronic bingo machines" are slot machines that are not legal in Alabama.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen


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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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