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Final judgment obtained in White Hall casecomment (0)

December 6, 2012

Gambling opponents have received another victory in the fight against so-called “electronic bingo” machines. 

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange’s office obtained a final judgment for the State of Alabama on Nov. 26 in a so-called “electronic bingo” case arising out of the execution of a search warrant at a Lowndes County casino.  

In March 2009, pursuant to a warrant, the State seized more than 100 machines from White Hall Entertainment Center and more than half a million dollars in cash proceeds from illegal gambling at the casino. 

After that raid, a legal battle quickly ensued with attorneys for the charity running the gambling center.

The State filed an action seeking  forfeiture of the items under an Alabama law that makes illegal gambling devices and illegal gambling proceeds forfeited to the State. 

Earlier this year, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Robert Vance declared the seized money forfeited to the State’s General Fund. On Nov. 26, Vance declared that the illegal gambling devices be forfeited to the State as well. 

After several years of litigation, four slot machine manufacturers “consented to the relief sought by the State.” 

Vance held that “the State is entitled to the relief sought in the complaint, namely the forfeiture and condemnation of the ‘gambling devices’ identified therein. The State may promptly make the arrangements necessary for the destruction of such devices.”

Strange said he was pleased with Vance’s decision to grant the State’s petition for forfeiture. “Today the trial court ordered that the gambling devices seized at the White Hall casino in 2009 are to be destroyed pursuant to Alabama law. This is exactly what the State has sought all along and I am pleased that this controversy was successfully resolved in the courts.”

Strange also noted that he hoped Vance’s order would help end the attempts of organized gambling to bring illegal slot machines into the state. “There is no reasonable argument that these so-called ‘electronic bingo’ machines are legal anywhere in Alabama,” he said.

(Alabama Attorney General’s Office, TAB)

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