Legal expert weighs in on bingo debate

Posted by: Mario Hendricks - bio | email
Reported by: Sally Pitts - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Bingo is described as a game of chance. Governor Riley and the Alabama Supreme Court say legal bingo has human interaction.  "It's hard to tell that you are playing against other people. You may be playing someone in another state," said Jones School of Law Professor Joe Lester.

The legality of bingo is a topic Lester is familiar with. He wrote an article about it five years ago when the face of bingo was changing in Alabama. He says, "It was called bing-no."

In Alabama, the constitution gives counties the authority to define bingo. 17 counties have passed individual constitutional amendments. Lester believes some counties exceeded the authority set out in those amendments. Macon County, he says, is a different story. "There is no doubt in my mind, that when that constitutional amendment was passed, it was passed with an eye toward electronic bingo."

That's why he was surprised to see the governor's task force attempt to raid Victoryland. "I just think what he has done was a strong show of force."

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