Country Crossing still closed despite Victoryland action

Country Crossing in Dothan, Ala.
Country Crossing in Dothan, Ala.
File: Numerous Ala. State Troopers during a recent attempted raid on Country Crossing.
File: Numerous Ala. State Troopers during a recent attempted raid on Country Crossing.

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

Dothan, AL (WSFA) – Despite Victoryland's re-opening, other gaming facilities in the state remain closed, including Country Crossing.

While the two bingo operations are both battling the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling, they have one key difference—the stance of the local district attorney and sheriff.

Country Crossing supporter Tim Hawkins said, "I wish we had the support of our local leaders—the Sheriff and District Attorney, like Mr. McGregor has in his county.  And like they have in Greene County."

It's the one glaring difference between the bingo battle in other counties versus the bingo battle in Houston County—the support from some of the area's top officials.

Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes said, "We're not computer experts.  We're not gambling experts.  There's no way myself or anyone from my office can look at a computer server and determine if it's legal or illegal."

Hughes says he's stayed out of the bingo battle because he believes it's the law.

"If I, as a Sheriff, stand up and try to block a raid by the task force, then I believe I'm breaking the law.  It's already been stated by the Alabama Supreme Court that they would not block a raid."

He says it's up to the state's Legislature or Supreme Court to decide what is and isn't legal.

Hughes said, "I serve people both for and against bingo in Houston County.  I'm here to enforce the law, not interpret the law."

And while there's no sign Country Crossing will open back up anytime soon, supporters remain hopeful."

Hawkins said, "We're going to continue to support it with everything we've got."

It may become a true test of patience, as Country Crossing officials aren't ready to take a gamble, and open its doors just yet.

A spokesperson for Country Crossing says they won't open their doors again without legal or legislative relief.

They're standing by their statement that if a bill isn't passed, they could move their operation out of the state.

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