Alabama: 14 electronic bingo halls around Jefferson County close after raids

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced state and federal authorities raided and closed 14 electronic bingo halls around Jefferson County.

In a press release, the Attorney General said that his office obtained temporary restraining orders against those businesses, which will keep them closed pending a court decision within the next two weeks. 

“The facilities shut down today were operating in blatant violation of state law, apparently without fear or reprisal. Our action this week came in response to numerous complaints about the trouble that illegal gambling has brought into these communities,” Marshall said. 

“These citizens deserve better. Allowing criminal enterprises to operate freely, in broad daylight, is offensive to the rule of law and will not be tolerated,” he added.

The raids continue a decades-old argument over the legality of electronic bingo in the state. Numerous counties have passed bingo amendments that they believe give them the right to operate the games. Marshall and the state’s Supreme Court have disagreed, calling the games illegal slot machines. 

The electronic games, which are played at all Poarch Band of Creek Indians casinos, are legal under the federal definition of bingo and several states have also adopted that definition. The raids this week were conducted by ALEA, the FBI and DEA.