Indian casinos see more customers while others remain closed

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - The electronic bingo machines at Riverside Casino in Wetumpka are still spinning strong despite the war between the Governor's illegal gambling task force and other bingo casinos around the state.

"It's business as usual," says Cody Williamson, Property Manager at Riverside Casino.

Riverside finds itself as the beneficiary of that legal standoff.

In short: gamblers are "looking for somewhere to go," adds Williamson.

He says being on Indian property keeps them safe from state raids.

"We've been told by our attorneys that the task force does not have jurisdiction over federal land."

It's an advantage keeping the lights on and customers streaming in.

"The parking lot has been full...stays full," he adds.

The Akins are regulars.

"We come two or three times a week," says Rex Akins.

They've noticed the increase since Victoryland shutdown.

"We talk to people that are in there.  And they're not all from around here.  They're from everywhere," adds Juleann Akins.

Take the Jacksons, for instance, who are from Tuskegee--celebrating their anniversary at Riverside.

"If Victoryland had been open, we would have been there, but being that it's not...we're here to celebrate, but we're wishing that Victoryland would open back up," says Hattie Jackson.

Williamson thinks it will open again.

But if not?

"Our plans to expand will probably come from the back burner to the front burner," he adds.

Williamson says he's not worried about being raided, but wouldn't be surprised if the task force went through the federal courts to try.

He's already getting employees from Victoryland and White Hall Entertainment asking for jobs but says there are few available.

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