By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—On Monday, the Alabama Supreme Court granted a stay in the VictoryLand case pending appeal. Circuit Court Judge William A. Shashy’s order was set to go into effect on Nov. 16, however, the Attorney General’s office had filed a motion asking the court to rule by Nov. 9, which it did. Perhaps, not coincidentally, the stay came after qualifying for the Republican Primary.
Chief Justice Roy S. Moore, and Associate Justices Lyn Stuart, Michael F. Bolin, Tom Parker, Glenn Murdock, Greg Shaw, Alisa Kelli Wise, and Tommy Bryan voted for the stay; only James Allen Main’s name was missing from the order.
Attorney General Luther Strange’s office issued a statement on his behalf saying, “I am pleased with the Alabama Supreme Court’s stay of the Circuit Court’s order concerning VictoryLand,” said Attorney General Strange. “The high court’s decision will prevent the release of all illegal electronic bingo machines seized at VictoryLand until the Supreme Court is able to rule on the state’s appeal.”
General Strange is recovering from knee replacement surgery.
Last month, Circuit Court Judge William A. Shashy dismissed the State’s case against Milton McGregor, and his VictoryLand Casino, and Dog Track in Macon County, citing a violation of the equal protection clause of the US Constitution.
In his ruling, Judge Shashy found, “The State could not and did not offer any substantive reason why it permitted this state of affairs to continue at other facilities, while taking its present stance against the same operations at Victoryland…The propriety of the State of Alabama electing to currently pursue action against only one facility is of great concern. It is apparent at the present time that the State of Alabama is cherrypicking which facilities should remain open or closed. This Court refuses to be used an instrument to perpetuate unfair treatment.”
Judge Shashy further questioned why the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) were allowed to run electronic bingo games in Wetumpka, Montgomery, and Atmore, while VictoryLand was closed down for doing the same thing. Shashy also referenced operations outside of Dothan and in Greene County.
On Thursday, Nov. 5, Gov. Robert Bentley signed Executive Order 13 in an effort to return the authority over gaming prosecution back to local law enforcement.
The Governor expressed his concern that the State had spent approximately $9 million and extended human capital to enforce, what he now says is a local issue.
The press statement from the AG’s office concluded by saying, “It is important that the case be allowed to progress through the entire judicial process so the legality of electronic bingo at VictoryLand can be settled once and for all.”