Final judgement: White Hall gaming machines seized in '09 to be - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Final judgement: White Hall gaming machines seized in '09 to be destroyed

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange's office Monday obtained a final judgment for the State of Alabama regarding the case arising from the execution of a search warrant at the White Hall casino in Lowndes County back in 2009.

The raid made headlines after members of Governor Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal moved in with guns drawn to seize gambling machines and money from the White Hall Entertainment Center in early 2009.

Armed with a warrant, the State seized over 100 machines it claimed were illegal slot machines, along with more than a half million dollars in cash proceeds from illegal gambling at the casino.

Suits against the state claimed the machines were legal "electronic bingo" machines and should not have been seized.

The State filed an action seeking forfeiture under an Alabama law that makes illegal gambling devices and illegal gambling proceeds forfeited to the State.

Earlier this year, Judge Robert Vance of the Jefferson County Circuit Court declared the seized money forfeited to the State's General Fund. Judge Robert Vance declared that the illegal gambling devices be forfeited to the State as well. 

After several years of litigation, four slot machine manufacturers "consented to the relief sought by the State." The slot machine manufacturers were AGS, Inc., Eclipse Gaming, Inc., Bally Gaming, Inc., and Nova Gaming, LLC... 

Judge Vance held that "the State is entitled to the relief sought in the complaint, namely the forfeiture and condemnation of the identified ‘Gambling Devices'...." and said the state can make arrangements to destroy the devices. 

Attorney General Strange said that he was pleased with Judge Vance's decision to grant the State's petition for forfeiture.

"Today the trial court ordered that the gambling devices seized at the White Hall casino in 2009 are to be destroyed pursuant to Alabama law.  This is exactly what the State has sought all along and I am pleased that this controversy was successfully resolved in the courts," he said. "The over half million dollars seized at the White Hall casino was previously ordered by the court to be forfeited to the State of Alabama's General Fund," said Attorney General Strange. 

Attorney General Strange also stated that he hoped Judge Vance's order would help end the attempts of organized gambling to bring illegal slot machines into the State.

"Since I took Office, I have worked hard to end illegal gambling in an orderly fashion through the court system.  Today is a significant step in that direction.  The slot-machine manufacturers' willingness to consent to this forfeiture judgment should end this controversy once and for all, not only in Lowndes County, but throughout the State,"

Attorney General Strange said. "There is no reasonable argument that these so-called ‘electronic bingo' machines are legal anywhere in Alabama, and these manufacturers have effectively admitted as much by consenting to this judgment."

INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama Attorney General's office

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