- Legal States
Silvia Pavlof January 31, 2023 3 min read
Alabama Electronic Bingo Ban Causes Major Lay-Offs at Victoryland Casino
The shutdown of electronic bingo games at Victoryland Casino in Macon County has caused several hundred employees to lose their jobs
Al.com reported that this was announced by Dr Lewis Benefield, the casino’s president and a veterinarian based in Montgomery.
Victoryland Casino President Hopes Business Will Pick Up with New Horse Racing Machines
Despite the setback, Victoryland Casino is seeking to recover by introducing new machines for betting on historical horse races. Additionally, the casino will continue to offer wagering on simulcasts of horse and greyhound races from other states and countries.
Benefield, who also presides over the Birmingham Race Course, noted that the latter establishment has been offering historical horse race betting and simulcasts for a number of years.
Benefield expressed his optimism that the new historical horse racing machines at Victoryland Casino would attract enough players to make up for the loss of the electronic bingo business. The casino, located 20 miles from Montgomery, faces competition from the electronic bingo establishments run by the Poarch Creeks in Montgomery and Wetumpka.
According to Benefield, all three casinos draw from the same customer base, so the success of the historical horse racing games against the traditional bingo games favored in the Montgomery region remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the casino president hopes that business will pick up sufficiently to allow for the rehiring of some of the laid-off employees.
Banning Electronic Bingo Machines Was a Long Process
Gambling has been heavily restricted in Alabama by the state constitution, with limited exceptions given by the Legislature and voters. In the past, horse and dog racing betting were approved for live and simulcast events in four counties: Greene, Jefferson, Macon, and Mobile.
In 2003, Macon County residents passed a constitutional amendment that allowed bingo, with Benefield believing it included electronic bingo. However, the Alabama Supreme Court disagreed and defined bingo as the traditional paper form of the game. This resulted in electronic bingo machines, which closely resemble slot machines, being deemed illegal gaming devices.
The issue of illegal electronic bingo in the state has been ongoing for over a decade and reached its climax in 2016 with the Alabama Supreme Court ruling on electronic bingo machines. On September 10, 2022, the Alabama Supreme Court finally banned Victoryland, Southern Star, and White Hall Casinos from operating after a case was won by the state.
Attorney General Steve Marshall celebrated the long-awaited victory and stated these casinos are illegal and pose a threat to public welfare. So far, five counties have seen their casinos shut down, including River City in 2017, Center Stage in 2018, and the latest ruling on Southern Star and White Hall, and Victoryland casinos.
Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.
Legal January 31, 2023
Legal January 31, 2023