D.A. - Victoryland machines are legal; Gov's office responds

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) - Macon County District Attorney E. Paul Jones announced Monday that he has completed an inspection of the bingo machines located at Victoryland in Shorter, Alabama.

He released this statement upon finishing his investigation:

"While I continue to believe, as do many legal experts, that the Alabama Supreme Court decision in regard to the Whitehall bingo hall does not apply to the Macon County amendment, Mr. McGregor chose to reconfigure his machines to comply with the ruling of the Court in that opinion." Said Jones. "I had promised everyone that I would inspect them in regard to compliance with the requirements of the Supreme Court decision, and I have now done so."

According to Jones, he, Sheriff David Warren, Probate Judge Mennefee, Louis Maxwell, Chairman of the Macon County Commission, and members of the Macon County Commission inspected the machines, and heard an expert in the gaming field explain the changes to the machines.

"An expert hired by Sheriff David Warren, Mr. Rich LaBrocca, Director of Testing for GLI, a New Jersey firm which conducts such tests internationally, went step by step through the Supreme Court's six criteria, and demonstrated that the machines complied with every one of the requirements set out by the Supreme Court," Jones said, "I cross examined him on each step, the way I would an expert in the courtroom, and to my surprise, he was able to answer every question I had. Among other information I learned that his firm conducts testing for law enforcement, and often testifies that machines actually do not meet the requirements of some Court."

Jones explained that he expects to notify the Governors task force of his findings, and hopes the task force leaders will take the time to actually consider the legality of the machines.

"While Mr. McGregor has gone to great lengths to comply with the requirements of the Whitehall case, my belief is that the machines are legal under Alabama law without the changes, particularly in view of the Alabama Supreme Court ruling in Knowles v. Victoryland. While I know the Court can change the law next week, I just want to be sure we operate in compliance with the law as it exists today." Jones said.

Jones is the District Attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit, which includes Tallapoosa, Randolph, Chambers and Macon Counties. Victoryland is located in Shorter, Macon County.

WSFA 12 News contacted Governor Bob Riley's office for comment. Communications Director Jeff Emerson released the following statement:

"At the time that Victoryland closed its doors, an investigation by law enforcement officers revealed its machines were plainly in violation of Alabama law.  These are slot machines, and slot machines are illegal in this state.  Not one word in Macon County's bingo amendment authorizes any games to be played on slot machines."

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