Three bingo halls in Alabama risk getting prosecuted if they don't shut down their machines by October 31, 2022. This directive comes as the attorney general is focusing on the legality of gaming halls offering electronic bingo machines.
The notice has an immediate effect, and it might force the three halls to stop operating in the state. Besides, it might adversely affect other facilities that provide electronic bingo games and hinder the expansion of betting in Alabama.
The Attorney General's Directive
Steve Marshall, Alabama attorney general, gave a notice on September 30 about the state's Supreme Court in the Alabama v. Epic Tech, LLC Marshall case. He referred to the ruling as being a huge success in enforcing the state's betting laws, and it affects three local bingo halls.
Marshall explains that the court's decision classifies Southern Star, Victoryland, and White Hall as being illegal. Thus, the state can ban some casino operators from offering various gambling choices.
Companies that operate electronic bingo games in the facilities can choose between facing criminal prosecution or shutting the machines.
Marshall is likely to prosecute any facility that violates the directive as he issued the statement soon after the court made its ruling. So, it is wise for the highlighted bingo halls to avoid offering electronic games.
The ruling reiterates that only particular parts of Alabama allow bingo games that need physical cards. The state's constitution was amended to allow counties to determine if they will allow or prohibit bingo games with charitable components within their boundaries.
White Hall and the Southern Star are in Lowndes County, and Victoryland is in Macon County. The announcement might have an aftermath for similar gaming facilities in other counties.
The Future of Other Alabama Bingo Halls
Marshall issued a statement saying that his lawsuit will end illegal betting in Greene County at the Greenetrack Casino, and the court is still adjudicating it. Greenetrack has an uncertain fate based on the Alabama Supreme Court's decision on Macon and Lowndes counties' electronic bingo games.
Even so, Greenetrack's operations adhere to Greene County's ordinances. But, the Supreme Court might soon decide that physical bingo games are acceptable in the state as its law supersedes all county provisions.
It is uncertain if any local bingo hall will begin or continue providing paper games. Still, they can opt to shut down immediately. The state's legislature will determine electronic bingo games' future.
The Legislature's Role in Expanding Legal Betting
Alabama might change some of its laws if its betting laws ban electronic bingo machines. Its legislature has concentrated on the gaming issue of late. For instance, the Senate almost passed a constitutional amendment to broaden legal betting in the state.
The legislation didn't clarify electronic bingo machines' legality. Even so, a new law might be created in the upcoming session.
Alabama Senator Greg Albritton sponsored the legislation and hinted that he shall try winning the Senate's support again in 2023. He can add a provision to allow electronic bingo.
Marshall is keen on closing all electronic bingo machines in the state. Yet, the Alabama Supreme Court might support him if the legislature fails to intervene.