Alabama AG Loses Again in Effort to Shut Down Casino

VictoryLand dog track and casino

A circuit court judge has ruled against a claim by the Alabama Attorney General’s office to shut down VictoryLand, a dog track and casino operating in Macon County. 

For quite some time, the Attorney General’s office of Alabama has been trying to stop VictoryLand from operating. The property provides casino services via electronic bingo games a well as dog track racing. In a recent Circuit Court ruling by Judge Steve Perryman, the request by the state for an injunction to see the casino shut down while a full trial is upcoming was shot down. The AG is trying to prove that the property is a public nuisance, but witnesses have now testified that the casino has had a positive impact on the county.

Open for Now

The judge order the parties in the case to remain as-is for now. VictoryLand will remain open, but the AG can report evidence to the court that might see the casino shut down. Apparently, the AG feels that minors are gaining access to the property. The judge ruled that if any evidence of minors is obtained by the AG it can be reported. This includes any reports in which a person is endangered by the facility. This evidence can be provided during the full trial against the facility.

In the order, Judge Perryman wrote that the court had not received any evidence that a minor had been able to enter the facility. There was also no evidence presented that showed breaches of peace anyone suffering from endangerment from the property, be it safety, health, or morals. Based on this recent ruling, it seems the AG is going to have to find significant evidence of harm connected to the property before a judge will even consider shutting it down.

Decades Long Feud

VictoryLand has been up against state officials in Alabama for about two decades now. The property, along with other bingo type facilities, have fought charges for many years as government officials do not feel the facilities have the right to offer services legally.

Former governors and attorney generals have fought the case only to come up short. The casinos as well as circuit court judges say the venues are legal and covered by laws within the state constitution. Amendments apparently exist that provide casinos with the right to offer bingo if it is provided electronically.

Machines similar to slot games can provide bingo in an electronic form and this is what is considered a legal option in the state. Casinos in Alabama that offer such games have won over 20 cases in circuit court which challenged their rights to offer these games.

While the circuit courts seem to be on their side, the Alabama Supreme Court is not. Several times, the highest court in the state has ruled against the casinos. At one point, laws were even created to try and fight the operations.

A bingo test was created and the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision not to consider the constitutional amendment issues have many feeling the decision within this court against the casinos is political. This makes sense as Alabama is a conservative state.

Any time an attempt has been made to legalize casino gaming, poker, or sports betting, it has failed due to the moral or religious beliefs of lawmakers. These same conservatives are within the Supreme court and may be listening to the lawmakers that do not want to see the bingo properties functioning.

We shall see in the coming weeks if the AG’s office is able to come up with any evidence to support claims that VictoryLand is doing harm or if the property will win again once the case goes to trial.

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.