Electronic bingo ban in Alabama causes major layoffs at Victoryland Casino

Al.com reported that this was announced by dr Lewis Benefieldthe president of the casino and a Montgomery-based veterinarian.

The President of Victoryland Casino is hoping that business with new horse racing machines will pick up

Despite the setback, Victoryland Casino is trying to bounce back by introducing new machines for betting on historic horse races. In addition, the casino will continue to offer wagering on horse and greyhound racing simulcasts from other states and countries.

Benefield, who also runs Birmingham Race Course, noted that the latter facility has been offering betting on historic horse races and simulcasts for a number of years.

Benefield expressed optimism that the new historic horse racing machines at Victoryland Casino would attract enough players to offset the loss of electronic bingo business. The casino, located 20 miles from Montgomery, faces competition from the electronic bingo facilities operated by the Poarch Creeks in Montgomery and Wetumpka.

All three casinos draw from the same customer base, according to Benefield, so the success of the historic horse racing games versus the traditional bingo games popular in the Montgomery area remains to be seen. Still, the casino president hopes business will pick up enough for some of the laid-off employees to be reinstated.

Banning electronic bingo machines was a long process

Gambling has been severely restricted in Alabama by the state constitution, with limited exceptions given by the legislature and voters. Historically, horse and dog racing wagers have been approved for live and simulcast events in four counties: Greene, Jefferson, Macon and Mobile.

In 2003, Macon County residents passed a constitutional amendment allowing bingo, which Benefield believed included electronic bingo. The Alabama Supreme Court disagreed, however, and defined bingo as the traditional paper form of the game. This led to electronic bingo machines, which closely resemble slot machines, being considered illegal gaming devices.

The problem of illegal electronic bingo in the state has persisted for over a decade, peaking in 2016 with the Alabama Supreme Court ruling on electronic bingo machines. On September 10, 2022, the Alabama Supreme Court permanently banned the operation of the Victoryland, Southern Star, and White Hall casinos after the state won a case.

Attorney General Steve Marshall celebrated the long-awaited victory, declaring these casinos illegal and a threat to public welfare. Five counties have had their casinos closed so far, including River City in 2017, Center Stage in 2018 and the most recent ruling the casinos Southern Star and White Hall and Victoryland.