Macon County leaders voice concerns over Victoryland ruling
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - On Friday Alabama’s high court ruled electronic bingo machines at Whitehall Gaming in Lowndes County and Victoryland Casino in Macon County are illegal.
The decision could lead to the closure of both facilities, but in Macon County, where the casino benefits the local government and school system, community leaders are fighting back.
“I’m very disappointed with the decision that they made,” said Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson.
Brunson and Tuskegee Mayor Tony Haygood were among about a dozen people Monday who gathered to express their concerns after the court’s decision to end gambling operations in their community.
“Victoryland provides employment, it provides economic development in this community and has for some time,” said Haygood.
Leaders with Macon County Schools say Victoryland has always been a source of financial support over the years.
“And it would be a tremendous loss extended without that support to be able to advocate for our students, to put our students in a place where their posture is from a school system that had been well supported with equitable resources,” said Dr. Melvin Lowe with Macon County Schools.
Despite the high court’s ruling, some leaders, including Tuskegee City Councilman Johnny Ford, say they aren’t giving up the fight.
“We’re going to give it all that we can in the legal course and see what happens,” Ford explained. “I want the citizens Macon County to know that we’re not throwing up our hands. We’re not giving up. We’re not giving up. We’re going to fight and use our intelligence to make sure that we come out of this in the best interest of the people.”
Ford says they are already working with attorneys to determine their next move. He added that if there’s nothing they can do, leaders must explore new options for the land where Victoryland sits.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshal argues the facilities are illegal under Alabama law and are what he calls a “menace to public health, morals, safety, and welfare.”
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