Attorney General: Bingo machines will be taken out of Ala.

Posted by Tom Ensey:

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – Thousands of controversial bingo machines will be removed from the state of Alabama after an agreement between Attorney General Luther Strange and three major manufacturers of the gaming machines, the attorney general's office announced Friday.

Beginning next week, International Gaming Technology, Bally Technologies and Multimedia Games will remove all of their machines and equipment from VictoryLand, Country Crossing and the White Hall Entertainment Center. The companies have agreed to remove all machines within 60 days.

Strange released a statement Friday saying the agreements resulted from a "reasoned legal strategy" that he employed since he was elected last November.

Before taking office, he met with local law enforcement and district attorneys in the affected counties as well as attorneys representing both out-of-state gambling manufacturers and Alabama casinos to discuss the state's legal position regarding "electronic bingo."

Strange "offered the casinos an opportunity to have their day in court through a forfeiture action," the release said.

The AG sent letters to the gaming machine companies that had the controversial machines in the state, explaining the state's legal position and giving the companies a timeframe to remove the machines from the state. The three biggest companies took advantage of the state's offer and agreed to remove the machines.

Representatives from two other companies, Cadillac Jack and Hest Technology, have told the AG's office they have already taken their equipment out of the state.

"It is my hope that this action will put an end to the electronic bingo controversy that has engulfed our state for far too long.  There are other manufacturers with machines in this state, and I hope that they will follow the lead of those who have responsibly agreed to remove their machines," Strange said.

When asked for comment, Governor Bentley's office issued this statement:

"Governor Bentley believes the Courts should decide what is legal, and the decision should be applied equally across the board. Executive Order 1, which the Governor signed January 18, 2011, stated that the Governor expected the Attorney General to fully and completely enforce the laws regarding gaming issues. The Governor supports the Attorney General's efforts to do just that. "

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