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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The commander of the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling is rejecting the attorney general's advice about trying to get court rulings against electronic bingo casinos.
Attorney General Troy King said Wednesday the task force's attempts to raid casinos without search warrants are ill-advised and it should seek court rulings in every county where it questions the legality of electronic bingo machines.
Task Force Commander John Tyson says that's a delaying tactic that would allow a few operators to keep breaking the law. Tyson also said the attorney general is making public statements, but is not talking to him directly.
Tyson ran against King in the 2006 election. The governor appointed Tyson last month to lead the task force.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
The following is the full statement made by John Tyson, head of the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling:
"The Supreme Court of Alabama has ruled twice in just four months that these illegal slot machines are not bingo (Barber v Cornerstone, 11-13-09; Surles v. City of Ashville, 1-29-10).
"The Criminal Law of Alabama is crystal clear. Slot machines are illegal no matter what name you call them. Alabama law clearly states that if a machine accepts money and dispenses cash value prizes based upon any elements of chance, then it's an illegal slot machine [Alabama Code Sec. 3A-12-20(10), 13A-12-27 (a)(1)]. There is no question these machines do exactly that.
"It is duty of the Task Force on Illegal Gambling to enforce criminal law of Alabama. We will do just that. The Task Force is committed to upholding the criminal law – and that is not going to change.
"Delaying law enforcement allows a few people to go on breaking the law and get away with it while the rest of us obey the law. That is neither fair nor right.
"The Supreme Court has ruled twice in the last month that Task Force operations should not be interfered with through civil lawsuits (Barber v. HEDA, 1-15-10; Tyson v. Macon Co. Racing, 2-4-10).
"All 19 enforcement operations and suppression activities the Task Force has conducted have been orderly and safe. None have been found illegal when all the dust has settled."