SHORTER, AL (WSFA) - Hours after a decision was made by Victoryland to close its gaming center for "computer upgrades", Task Force on Illegal Gambling Commander John Tyson slammed the gaming facility's actions.
"Late last night, Milton McGregor locked the doors at VictoryLand and began altering his gambling equipment in direct violation of a court order," Tyson said.
"Just last Friday, as law enforcement officers were about to raid the slot machine casino at VictoryLand, McGregor obtained a middle-of-the-night court order preventing the officers from seizing the illegal slot machines," Tyson added. "That order directed McGregor and all others at VictoryLand to 'preserve and not destroy any evidence' until a court hearing could be held on Friday, February 6."
McGregor said the closure, which does not affect the center's hotel, restaurant or dog track, was part of fully complying with an Alabama Supreme Court order that outlines what legal bingo is in Alabama.
"The court told McGregor he had to preserve the evidence," Tyson demanded. "Everyone knows what it means to preserve evidence – you don't alter it, you don't destroy it, you leave it exactly as it was."
McGregor said the machines that have been modified have been certified by an internationally recognized testing company, the same company, he says, that does work for the FBI. He says complying has cost him about half of his business. As for when Quincy's Triple Seven will reopen, McGregor says he hopes it will be soon.
About 4:00pm Monday, Victoryland filed papers with the Alabama Supreme Court supporting the restraining order that stopped Governor Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling from raiding the facility. The task force has until Tuesday at 5pm to file a response.
The high court is expected to rule quickly, perhaps as early as Wednesday on the matter. So far, the justices have sided with the Governor in at least three cases, declaring the electronic bingo machines as illegal.
The battle over bingo continues to heat up in Alabama. WSFA 12 News and our sister stations throughout Alabama will continue to follow this rapidly developing story.