Alabama court upholds arcade ruling

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 1, 2004

On Friday, Feb. 28, 2003 the District Attorney Greg Griggers sent a letter to all the local law enforcement agencies in Marengo, Sumter, and Greene Counties declaring that the 28th would be the last day video arcade businesses would be opened. The video arcade owners worked to set up an appeal and keep their places of business open until a finally judgment on the case could be sought.

Well thanks to the Alabama Supreme Court 7-1 ruling Friday, now Griggers’ declaration can finally happen. When Griggers took office at the beginning of this last year, one of his first major moves district attorney was to find some sort of resolution to the video gambling establishments in his district. He found an appellate court ruling that said gambling and paying cash prizes is illegal and he soon issued his order to arcade owners.

On that same Friday, Demopolis and Linden police joined together for a countywide raid that helped net 150 video gambling machines and $30,000 cash.

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“This ruling just justified what I was doing back in Jan.-Mar. of 2003 in proving that those video gambling machines are illegal,” Griggers said.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the Alabama constitution forbids machines that relay on chance. The decision upheld the 2002 Alabama Court of Appeals finding that State district attorneys used to shut hundreds of adult video arcades across the state.

The Supreme Court ruled that electronic games in adult video arcades were games that relied on chance and violated the rule against lotteries in the Alabama constitution.

The arcade owners argued that the “Chuck E. Cheese law” allowed them to stay open as long as their games had some skill and they didn’t offer cash prizes.

“We are lucky that there isn’t many of these adult arcades left in the three counties,” Griggers said.

He said this ruling would give the law enforcement more legs to stand on when they go to close these arcades down.