By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
SHORTER—Starting before noon on Tuesday, people were lining up, along with the traffic, around Victoryland in Macon County, for its “Grand” reopening at 2:00 pm.
People poured through the doors and flooded the lobby, as they all rushed to get their chance to gamble at Victoryland, again.
At a press conference last month, Victoryland owner, Milton McGregor, announced the plan to reopen on September 13. The casino opened with 500 electronic bingo machines and had anticipated hiring 200 staff members.
One reporter said that Milton McGregor is such a well-known celebrity, that people walked right past Auburn’s legendary coach Pat Dye to get a selfie with McGregor. It would appear that those in attendance were voting on the gambling issue with their dollars. The people in this area of the State have truly embraced the reopening.
In response, Attorney General Luther Strange issued a statement saying that in March, the Alabama Supreme Court had reinforced its previous ruling that said the electronic bingo machines being operated in the facility were not what the people of Macon County had voted for in 2003. That ruling allowed the State to keep 1,615 electronic bingo machines and $236,000 overruling Judge Willam Shashy who said the machines were legal and that the State was “cherry-picking” in enforcement of gambling laws.
“The Governor has expressly told the Sheriff and District Attorney in Macon County that they need to do their job and enforce State gambling laws. If those local officials are disregarding the Governor’s order and facilitating illegal activity, then I expect the Governor to take action. I stand ready to work with the Governor and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to stop illegal gambling and other crimes,” said Strange.
In an executive order last year, Governor Bentley said that it was up to the discretion of local sheriffs and local district attorneys to interpret and enforce laws affecting their counties, taking it out of the hands of the Attorney General’s office.
Bentley’s office said they had no comment on the matter.
The facility was raided in 2013 when the Alabama Attorney General’s Office and the Alabama Department of Public Safety served a search warrant citing illegal gambling operations, seizing the machines and money.