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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 5, May 2011, Posted On: 5/2/2011

Alabama Bingo Machine Operator Pleads Guilty

Marcus Webb
Alabama bingo, electronic bingo, bingo machine, County Crossing, electronic bingo hall, Ronnie Gilley, bingo legalization, bribery charge

MONTGOMERY, AL -- The developer of the County Crossing resort and electronic bingo hall pleaded guilty on April 25 to 11 counts of conspiracy, money laundering and bribery in a federal corruption trial.

Ronnie Gilley was charged with offering a state lawmaker a $1 million public relations job if he voted for bingo legalization. But the lawmaker was wearing a wire and taped the conversation. Gilley could receive a federal prison term of up to 27 years when he is sentenced in November.

Despite Gilley's conviction, Country Crossing officials said the company is working with manufacturers to create a machine that conforms to state gambling laws. The officials said they expect to resume bingo operations in late 2011.

Four state legislators, seven lobbyists and other game industry executives were also indicted last year in the same case.

The case grew out of a lengthy lobbying campaign to persuade Alabama lawmakers to legalize electronic bingo. The state Legislature failed to vote for the bill, but the FBI worked with local law enforcement to gather evidence of bribery and vote selling.

Some lobbyists in the affair have pled guilty to reduced charges in exchange for agreeing to testify for the prosecution. Some of the defendants did not plead guilty. They are expected to go to trial in June.

Alabama's controversial electronic bingo industry has seen a seesaw of legality and enforcement for the past two years. | SEE STORY

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