King, no jurisdiction on Poarch bingo

Published 1:14 am Monday, December 6, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
Alabama Attorney General Troy King announced this week his findings from a months-long probe of electronic gaming in Alabama.
While King did find what he considered to be illegal gaming machines at several dog tracks and one illegal gaming operation in White Hall. He also stated that his office had no jurisdiction over Indian gaming operations such as the ones in Atmore and Wetumpka.
King visited the Creek Bingo Palace in August to inspect the electronic bingo machines in operation there. At the time, King did not say what his opinions were.
In October, King met with federal officials over Indian gaming, including the National Commission on Indian Gaming. Again, neither King nor the federal officials would elaborate on their discussions.
Robert McGhee, CEO of Creek Indian Enterprises said King's announcement comes as no surprise. "Our doors are always open to the Attorney General, but we are governed by the Tribal Gaming Commission and National Commission on Indian Gaming," McGhee said.
King said he found a number of electronic games at dog tracks around the state and warned their operators to have them removed or reprogrammed to more closely resemble a bingo card in their operation.
Milton McGregor, owner of the dog tracks, said he believes all of the machines at his tracks are legal, and regulated by the county sheriff. "Under the constitutional amendment, the Macon County Sheriff was authorized by the people to promulgate rules and regulations defining bingo and he has done so," McGregor said.
King did declare a gaming operation in White Hall to be operating under what he called a "flawed constitutional amendment," and claimed he would have that operation shut down.
The Christian Coalition of Alabama responded to King's findings. John Giles, the CCA president, said "gambling is very poor public policy, and I am hopeful he will use the full energies of the AG's office to deal with this out of control and powerful industry in Alabama."
Earlier this year, the CCA filed a complaint with the National Commission on Indian Gaming over the video machines in the Creek entertainment centers. The CCA contends the machines are not legal under the current definition for the types of gaming allowed in Alabama.
Since the CCA's complaint, reports have surfaced that the organization accepted donations from Mississippi casino operations.

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