By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY— Special Circuit Judge, Houston L. Brown, ruled in favor of Greenetrack Inc., on Wednesday, entering judgment against the State, and the electric bingo casino. Judge Brown ordered the State shall return all seized equipment and records to Greenetrack, Inc.
Greenetrack launched its casino-styled gaming in 2004, under Constitutional Amendment 743. In 2011 and 2014, Attorney General Luther Strange launch raids on the Eutaw facility. After the first raid, “Greenetrack President and CEO Nat Winn said, “Here today we are devastated by another tornado that was created by Attorney General Luther Strange.”
After today’s ruling, Winn stated, “The decision today by a judge specially appointed by the Alabama Supreme Court finally decides once and for all that Amendment 743 means what it says: electronic bingo is legal in Greene County.”
Winn recalled the six year battle to maintain his casino empire, and now feels vindicated under the law. “The court has weighed the evidence and made a final decision. Attorney General Strange should honor that decision.”
Strange may appeal the case, as he did after Montgomery Judge William A. Shashy ruled in favor of VictoryLand.
Winn says Strange has no grounds to appeal the court’s ruling saying, “He [Strange] did not offer a single shred of evidence to dispute that Amendment 743 means what it says. He did not offer a single witness with any knowledge about Amendment 743 or the operation of these games.”
Citing constitutional construction, Judge Brown ruled, “there is no basis for finding that any of the games at issue here failed to comply with Amendment 743 or Cornerstone.” He further stated, “Unlike any other bingo constitutional amendment adopted prior to September 2003, the Legislature and the People of Greene County were clear; they defined bingo and chose to include the terms electronic marking devices and electronic card marking devices.”
Casino owner Winn ended his comments by saying, “The Legislature has decided; the People of Greene County have decided; and now a fair and impartial court has decided. We are thankful that we can now put this behind us and move forward.”