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Alabama Bingo Machine Trial Begins; 800 Bingos Seized

Posted On: 6/7/2011

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Alabama bingo, electronic bingo, bingo machine, County Crossing, electronic bingo hall, Milton McGregor, VictoryLand, bingo legalization, bribery charge

MONTGOMERY, AL -- Operators and Alabama state senators are among the nine defendants charged with bribery and conspiracy in a federal corruption trial that is now underway. Jury selection began June 6 for a trial expected to last months.

Along with two lobbyists and four current and former lawmakers, Milton McGregor, owner of VictoryLand, is among those accused of offering or accepting bribes to legalize electronic bingo machines in 2010.

A bingo machine legalization bill failed to pass, but the FBI and local law enforcement agencies wiretapped many of those involved in the lobbying effort, resulting in indictments being issued last year.

One major bingo operator already entered a guilty plea. Ronnie Gilley, developer of the County Crossing resort and electronic bingo hall, pleaded guilty on April 25 to 11 counts of conspiracy, money laundering and bribery. | SEE STORY

In other news, state troopers and agents of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation seized 700 electronic bingo machines during raids at the Greenetrack racetrack gameroom in Union and Frontier Bingo in Knoxville.

Greenetrack had shut its bingo hall last year after 800 bingos were seized. The hall reopened a few months ago, using machines that operators said met requirements laid out by the State Supreme Court ruling.

Attorney General Luther Strange said the disputed machines are illegal slot machines and that his office was forced to issue search warrants after Greenetrack officials refused to discuss the status of their machines or submit any games for testing.

Greenetrack attorneys said an independent testing lab has certified that the racetrack's bingo games are legal devices and that the owners look forward to their day in court.