Center Stage, State reach agreement on gambling operations

Center Stage, State reach agreement on gambling operations

HOUSTON CO., AL (WSFA) - Center Stage in Houston County will cease illegal gambling operations as part of an agreement reached with the Alabama attorney general's office following a lawsuit filed nearly a year ago, AG Steve Marshall's office said Thursday.

The agreement was reached with the non-profit Houston County Economic Development Association, which runs Center Stage. Marshall's office says the agreement is the second case "to successfully curb illegal gambling operations."

Marshall says HEDA is required under the agreement to remove illegal table games from the Center State facility, remove all illegal electronic games of chance by the end of September, and only offer the game of bingo that is legal under the laws of Alabama.

"It is my duty as Attorney General to enforce Alabama's laws and to prevent individuals and organizations from offering illegal gambling in our state," Marshall said.

Ashton Ott, an attorney representing HEDA released a statement saying, in part:

"This agreement sets forth a framework that allows us to continue to offer a great experience for our guests, while at the same time ensuring compliance with applicable state law. Moving forward players will have the option to participate in interactive skill-based games prior to playing paper bingo. Center Stage will remain open and nothing outside of normal business fluctuations should affect employment levels at Center Stage."

Ott goes on to say that "HEDA disagrees that the games previously offered were illegal in anyway, but today's agreement will remove all doubt and allow HEDA to continue to offer fun and exciting bingo entertainment opportunities for our guests, while contributing regularly to local charities and events in this area."

The full agreement can be read here.

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