When a closely watched Alabama trial on gambling corruption ended a week ago with an acquittal of VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor, the state’s controversial bingo parlors have begun to reopen.
State attorney general Luther Strange has indicated that the battle is hardly over however. Strange still maintains that the electronic bingo machines used in the casinos are illegal under Alabama law. Strange says his office “will not allow the State of Alabama to spiral back into the gambling problems of the past.”
In addition to VictoryLand in Macon County, the Southern Star casino in White Hall has also reopened. It should be interesting to see what happens now.
The Poarch Creek band of Indians who run a similar casino in Atmore appear to have been the biggest beneficiaries of the controversy. Because they are regulated by Federal law instead of state law, they were able to remain open throughout the process. Indeed, revenues for the Poarch Creek group grew at 61% according to a recent study of Indian Gaming. That was enough to put Alabama at the top of the list, with the fastest growth rate in all of Indian Gaming for 2010.