VictoryLand Racetrack Has Installed 500 “Electronic Bingo” Slot Machines


Over 300 gaming machines and $200,000 in cash were confiscated from VictoryLand in a 2013 raid.

VictoryLand has its gaming machines back, at least in a roundabout way. VictoryLand’s owner, Milton McGregor, invested in a new type of electronic gaming machine (EGM) which is supposed to be unquestionably legal.

VictoryLand reopened its gaming space with 500 “electronic bingo” slot machines this week. Milton McGregor says these gaming machines are much different than the EGMs confiscated in a raid by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange 3 years ago. McGregor told Mike Cason of he was not concerned about another raid by state authorities.

Macon County Justice

One reason for that confidence is an executive order from Gov. Robert Bentley stating it was local sheriffs and district attorneys who should enforce criminal laws as “guided by their respective interpretation of the laws.” Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson already has said the Class II slot machines are legal in his opinion.

Sheriff Brunson said, “There’s only one person on this earth that can establish the rules and regulations of electronic bingo in Macon County under CA 744, and that’s the sheriff.

Awaiting Luther Strange’s Reaction

In the wild world of Alabama state politics, it is uncertain whether AG Luther Strange agrees. The issue splits members of the Alabama Republican Party, who have come down on both sides of the dispute.

Luther Strange arranged a raid on VictoryLand and two other racinos in 2013. In those raids, state troopers seized hundreds of gaming machines and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

VictoryLand Lawsuit

VictoryLand sued to have its gaming machines and cash returned. The racetrack claimed Luther Strange was applying the law unfairly, because he allowed similar gambling to take place at the Poarch Indian casinos.

Judge William Shashy, an Alabama district judge, agreed with VictoryLand. Judge Shashy ordered Luther Strange to return the EGMs and the money which was confiscated in the raids. Strange had 90 days to do so, yet the attorney general ignored the judge. That prompted Gov. Bentley to order state troopers not to involve themselves in raids on gaming facilities, i.e. don’t help Luther Strange enforce the gaming laws as he saw fit.

Class II Slot Machines

The law in many states make a distinction between bingo-style games and Las Vegas style gambling. A game which uses the same game mechanics as bingo, in which a set prize pool exists and one playing winnings means other players won’t win, is considered a Class II form of gambling. Vegas style gaming, in which a random number determines a win or loss regardless of all other bets, is a considered a Class III form of gambling.

Using a bingo game mechanic, designers create “electronic bingo” games which look like slot machines. One would have to look closely to see a virtual bingo card somewhere on the screen. These Class II slot machines are found in tribal casinos, which cannot house Las Vegas style slot machines.

Electronic Bingo Machines

These are the gaming machines at the three Poarch tribal casinos in Alabama. Milton McGregor is taking the approach that the state cannot and will not raid and prosecute VictoryLand for installing the same electronic gaming machines that the tribal casinos use.

That is the gamble Milton McGregor is taking. With Gov. Bentley ordering the state troopers not to help Luther Strange enforce the gaming laws and signing an executive order to constrain the attorney general, it appears that Luther Strange has his options limited. Yet the attorney general has defied the court system and even his own boss, the governor, in the past,

The question is: if Luther Strange defies Robert Bentley again, will the governor fire his own attorney general?