Etowah County judge dismisses bingo suit

May 31, 2010

The Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Bob Riley’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling had the authority to continue its legal efforts to shut down electronic bingo despite the opposition of Attorney General Troy King.

Millican in his ruling said, “The Court does not have the luxury of not following the law nor changing or re-interpreting the law when its outcome does not conform to the popular view.”

He said with certain exceptions “not applicable here,” courts in Alabama don’t have subject matter jurisdiction in independent civil actions to interfere with the enforcement of criminal laws.

Christie Knowles, an attorney for CBS Supply, which plans a $200 million bingo development in Etowah County, said she will be researching other ways to bring the issue of the machines’ legality to court.

Knowles said she will have to determine whether those legal options are proper at this time.

The ruling was not about the legality of the machines, she said, but concerned procedural issues.

Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp said the ruling meant electronic bingo here would be up to the Legislature.

The remaining legal issue in the suit originally brought last year by Harp dealt with the legality of bingo machines that CBS claims are legal and meet state and local standards.

Harp said he believes the machines are illegal slot machines.

“Any further action on bingo will have to be addressed by the Alabama Legislature; there’s no further court action,” Harp said. “There’s no further legal avenues for anybody to litigate over bingo in the court system.”

Harp and Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin will have a press today at 11 a.m. to discuss the bingo ruling.

In his ruling, Millican kept in place for 45 days an order protecting the prototypes of the machines, which were brought to the county for the case, from being seized.

Harp said the order “took me by surprise,” but called it a correct statement of the law.

“It’s shouldn’t surprise anyone involved in the case that he (Millican) ruled the way he did,” Harp said.

Harp said he thought there might be motions filed or a hearing held on the suit.

Millican issued a legal stay in the case in April after the issue of the task force’s authority was appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court.

“The timing of the order was very surprising, but the content was not to me,” Harp said.

Harp said it was “crystal clear” the Supreme Court was going to allow Riley to assert his legal position in courts in the state even when his position was different from the attorney general’s.

Riley believes electronic bingo machines are slot machines and are illegal.

“Judge Millican is following the law, which is crystal clear when it comes to illegal gambling in Alabama. The only people who pretend otherwise are those who support illegal gambling,” said Riley. “I am confident District Attorney Jimmie Harp, who asked the Task Force to assist in this matter, has every intention of enforcing both the rule of law in general and Judge Millican’s decision in particular.”

Harp said he doesn’t know if there will be a bingo development here, but that developers will not be able to legally operate machines like the ones that have been in operation elsewhere in the state.

Etowah County judge dismisses bingo suit

Online Casinos News

Your Ad Here!