Attorney General approves of Greenetrack operation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 2, 2004

After months of research Alabama State Attorney General Troy King was finally ready to reveal his findings concerning illegal gambling in Alabama Wednesday morning. After receiving several complaints from individuals and groups King and his staff began a review of gambling facilities beginning on July 2. During the review, King toured several facilities across the state and on Wednesday he was ready to make his findings known.

The announcement was especially important for Greenetrack, whose electronic bingo machines had come under question. The news was mostly good for the local facility as Greenetrack was found to be operating under the law. King found that most of Greenetrack’s machines did indeed operate under Amendment 743 relating to Greene County and stating games that are depicted on a video console can still be bingo-albeit a technologically advanced form of bingo-but bingo nonetheless.

The Attorney General, who personally visited the gambling halls at the Greene county dog track, said some machines were not completely legal because they are not based on a traditional bingo grid that is five squares wide and five squares tall.

King said the track would have a reasonable amount of time to replace or reprogram the machines to comply with his definition of what is allowed in Alabama.

King said while most machines were within the law, but he would continue to monitor the situation closely.

Before revealing his findings King let it be known he did not approve of gaming of any sort and did not believe it was the answer to funding issues.

Kings opening remarks drew praise from Christian Coalition of Alabama President John Giles.

Greenetrack released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying they were pleased with the overall findings by the Attorney General. The statement read:

King said his announcement was just a small piece to the puzzle. He said as long as there is illegal gambling in Alabama he would continue to search for a solution. King said the Attorney General’s office planned to work closely with local, state and federal authorities to ensure that in the future, the machines being played in these facilities are of the type commonly known as bingo and no other.

The key argument against electronic bingo machines has been that they were not bingo at all. However, the language in state laws has been worded very carefully to see that bingo machines do indeed follow the rules.