Call for eBingo To Be Legalised In Alabama

By Ben Hamill - May 06 2019

New Bills Push For eBingo’s Return To Alabama

2011 saw eBingo machines removed from all entertainment and racetrack venues in the state of Alabama. At the time, the official reason provided by lawmakers was that eBingo machines closely resembled typical slot machines. Even though Bingo remained legal, manufacturers and distributors of the machines were ordered to immediately remove all of their products from venues statewide. Many questions were at the time asked about the fact that Native American establishments appeared to have been exempted from the removal order as these were allowed to continue with eBingo business as usual.

Lawmakers were quick to respond to queries about the supposed inequality and had at the time claimed that the machines were illegal and that the law would be enforced irrespective of who the operators were. But this was far from what was actually happening as even now, Native American establishments such as the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, still make use of the machines to attract patrons to their venues.

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VictoryLand Wants eBingo Back

The issue is now anew under the legislative looking glass and in amidst processes seeking to instate a State Lottery, a number of separate bills are currently making headlines; with each attempting to re-install eBingo machines at dog race tracks in Alabama. A house committee was recently urged by Democratic Republican Pebblin Warren to legalise eBingo machines at venues Macon County. According to Warren, the county isn’t asking for anything more than the benefits currently enjoyed by Poarch Band.

Warren motivated her request by explaining the scope of the negative impact caused by the removal of the machines, and especially so at VictoryLand. The removal of the machines meant that many jobs were made redundant and the local economy suffered as a result.

House Urged To Be Vigilant

A spokesperson for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, one Robert McGhee, urged representatives of the house to carefully consider Warren’s request before making a decision, as in his opinion, other counties would file similar requests if the one by VictoryLand were to be granted. Poarch Band is obviously eager to hold on to its eBingo monopoly, regardless of the consequences borne by all other venues in the state.

The house has yet to put the issue to a vote. They would be well advised to carefully consider all of the possible ramifications of a decision made in either of the two directions, as both will have far-reaching consequences.

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