Department of Justice wants to know AL's stance on bingo machines

Published: Mar. 24, 2016 at 9:21 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 1, 2016 at 9:21 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The U.S. Department of Justice wants answers about gambling in Alabama.

U.S. Attorney for the Middle District George Beck wants to know where the state officially stands on electronic bingo machines.

In a letter addressed to Attorney General Luther Strange and Gov. Robert Bentley, Beck questions the position of the state on gaming related to bingo machines operated in Alabama on tribal and non-tribal lands.

It comes after a request by the City of Tuskegee for his office to investigate denial of equal protection to non-native Americans and citizens' claims there have been inconsistent positions taken by the state over the enforcement of gaming laws.

The letter states there is confusion between bingo machines and slot machines, saying Strange has referred to electronic bingo equipment as slot machines in disguise.

Beck says the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act under which gambling is defined allows electronic bingo on Indian lands but excludes slot machines of any kind.

Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford says the city has been asking for help in the fight to get Victoryland back open.

"We feel that our voting rights have been violated. We feel our equal protection rights have been violated. The drastic thing about all of this is the fact that more than 2,000 people have lost their jobs, we have lost millions of dollars, which would have benefited our schools, our cities, our county. More than 60 charitable organizations have all been drastically affected," Ford said.

Beck says in order for his office to do the investigation, they need answers to some complex questions. He does say, though, the information requested is on a volunteer basis.

Strange would not comment on Beck's letter.

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