Gov. wants S.C. to hear counties' bingo cases

Posted by: Eileen Jones - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There are new developments in the legal battle over the future of electronic gaming in Alabama. The Supreme Court is considering whether electronic bingo is legal. Thursday, the Governor's office asked the Justices to consider recent rulings outlawing electronic bingo in two counties.

The rulings outlawing electronic bingo in Walker and Jefferson counties have caused a stir in some parts of the state but the attorney for White HallCollins Pettaway says he's not worried yet. "There are some grave differences."

About 100 gaming machines have been taken from the White Hall Entertainment Center in Lowndes County so the Governor's Task Force can prove they're illegal. Pettaway is hoping the Walker and Jefferson county cases won't influence the high court. The only reason the Governor is doing that is probably trying to influence or inflame the court. "

Take the Walker County decision in which the Judge says the machines are like a lottery and that's illegal in Alabama. But Pettaway says the Walker County amendment to the constitution which permitted bingo was written back in 1992 when folks played bingo on cards with numbers."If you look at the reasoning that Judge Vance in Walker County looked at he was looking at what was the state of bingo in his estimation was back during the time period that amendment was voted on."

And, in Jefferson County, the Judge there declared the machines illegal because they didn't meet the criteria for bingo. "I do think that some of those machines that are in Jefferson County in my opinion I think they do meet the criteria - some of those machines. And so that's why I say, the Judge...was specific enough of ferreting out which ones were and which ones were not. He just said all of them and I disagree with that."

And, as for the Governor who wants the Supreme Court to consider both the Walker and Jefferson County cases when it rules on Whit Hall, Pettaway says he's concerned, "You're always dealing with the unknown when you have somebody else make a decision for you but we're confident that the law and the arguments we have before us should prevail on that...but of course it's something that's not in your hands there's always an issue."

Pettaway is hoping the Supreme Court won't consider the Jefferson and Walker County rulings because he said those are trial court decisions that could be appealed to the Supreme Court the very Court that has the White Hall case.

The president of Victoryland, Milton McGregor, also reacted to one of the rulings. He said "Obviously the Walker County ruling does not effect Macon County which was approved in November 2003 by more than 76-per cent of the voters."

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