AG King says he warned Chickasaw mayor

Ala. Attorney General Troy King
Ala. Attorney General Troy King

MONTGOMERY - Attorney General Troy King said Friday that the Governor's Task Force Raid Thursday on the Chickasaw bingo facility should have been expected by the facility's operator and Chickasaw authorities.

In an October 6, 2009 letter to Chickasaw Mayor Byron Pittman, Attorney General King wrote, "Regardless of any decision by the Alabama Supreme Court on electronic bingo, or any bingo city rules or regulations, the City of Chickasaw will need additional legislation in order to allow electronic bingo machines to be operated within its borders." King ended his letter by saying that, "Chickasaw will need additional legislation that eliminates the provisions of the current law that restricts bingo to 'card or paper sheet' before electronic bingo would be legal in your city."

Attorney General King notes that the Chickasaw raid provides yet another good example of why members of the public and even some lawyers and prosecutors find the current constitutional amendments and state and local laws to be extremely confusing.

"When a state – as does Alabama – has 17 different valid constitutional amendments that apply to 16 different counties, all of them allowing gambling on bingo, it makes uniform enforcement of all those different laws impossible.  We do not have a one-size-fits-all law regarding bingo.  We have 17 different sets of laws, rules, and regulations and not a single one of them have been properly ruled on by the Alabama Supreme Court.  Until there is a definitive ruling by the Supreme Court on the question of whether electronic bingo is permissible in these 17 jurisdictions, confusion and conflict will continue to prevail."

Attorney General King said, "Until such issues are decided by a vote of the people or by a ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court, there can be no final answer as to whether electronic bingo is permissible in those jurisdictions with constitutional amendments that allow gambling on bingo.  I continue to be hopeful that the question will be asked and answered soon."

INFORMATION SOURCE: Attorney General Troy King's office