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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Figures released in a court opinion show that VictoryLand grossed $125 million from electronic bingo games in 2008 and paid just $1.3 million to charities.
The figures were included in a court order in a federal lawsuit filed by Lucky Palace, a group that tried to open a rival bingo operation across the street from VictoryLand.
The judge also said a lawyer for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor helped write the regulations that determine who can operate bingo games in Macon County.
While Lucky Palace's lawyers say VictoryLand charities are getting a bad deal, John Bolton, an attorney representing VictoryLand, said payments have increased several times since bingo began there in 2003.
Bolton said the $125 million or more VictoryLand reported as its gross profits in the last two years reported are not bottom-line profit.
Governor Bob Riley's office, which created the Task Force on Illegal Gambling, quickly seized on the court documents in an effort to show the Macon County facility is "nothing but a sham."
This case is completely unrelated to the Governor's Task Force, but it does fuel the flames Governor Riley started back in January when the Task Force attempted to raid Victoryland.
"All this talk of how VictoryLand is giving so much money to charities is an illusion, and this federal court ruling completely shatters that illusion. VictoryLand is nothing but an illegal scheme to enrich Milton McGregor and his cronies, and this federal court ruling lays that out for all to see. In his ruling, Judge Keith Watkins found that VictoryLand grossed more than $162 million in 2008 but gave less than one percent of that to 60 charities. That's less than $22,000 per charity. In contrast, the press has reported former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford won more than that in a single day."
"This ruling is just more proof that so-called ‘charitable electronic bingo' is nothing but a sham. The casinos mislead people into believing they're helping charities. But the reality is, the only people who actually benefit from it are the casino bosses and their cronies."
"Governor Riley's comments are disgusting and an insult to the good citizens of Macon County and Alabama. Everyone know that Riley is totally owned by the Indians and that Riley has created a tax-free monopoly for the Indians as it relates to bingo. Lame duck Riley and his children are nothing more than hired guns/lobbyist for the Indians. When Riley needs to get his children and cronies more money he simply approves a no-bid contract for them like the Paragon ($13 million) rip-off. The millions of dollars the Mississippi Indians put into Riley's 2002 campaign has [sic] obviously paid them dividends at Alabama's expense."
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. WSFA 12 News contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.)