Did they get a head’s up?Published 12:00am Saturday, April 12, 2014
By Bob Martin
Did the folks at Greenetrack Casino in Eutaw get advance notice of last month’s raid by Atty. Gen. Luther Strange?
Montgomery attorney Charlanna Spencer, who represents Greentrack, has told me that the casino’s electronic bingo machines were taken offline before the search warrants signed by Greene County District Judge Lillie Jones-Osborne were served the morning of the raid on March 29.
“The attempts by the attorney general to go after Greenetrack for legitimate gaming compelled us to suspend an aspect of our gaming in an abundance of caution,” Luther “Nat” Winn, Greenetrack’s President and CEO says, adding that such targeting by Strange is clearly a blatant political maneuver.”
Spencer says that all operations at the casino comply with state and federal laws. “The sad truth is that this action will put more than 1,000 people in the area out of work and limit the ability of many employees to care for their families.” She added that industry experts have “time and time again asserted that the electronic bingo games offered by Greenetrack comply with all federal and state laws and are, in fact, bingo games.”
Since the raid took place State Rep. Joe Hubbard of Montgomery has said that Greenetrack, located in Eutaw, was warned, but the three other casinos in Greene County, which were the subjects of raids by Strange, were not warned. They are Greene Charity, also in Eutaw and Frontier Bingo and River’s Edge in the nearby town of Knoxville.
Strange’s office reported that over 1,000 gambling machines were seized along with an undisclosed amount of cash from the Greene County locations.
“This is no longer about bingo. It’s about voting rights,” Winn told The Greene County Democrat in Eutaw.
Our state constitution places the regulation of bingo operations in Greene County under the local sheriff. However the sheriff’s office didn’t attempt to halt the raid. In a statement, the sheriff told The Democrat, “A lot of people are asking why my department was not directed to stand in front of the doors to block access to the building. First, I should point out we had no prior knowledge of any of the search warrants.”
The word I get is that the casinos are determined to be back up and running soon. We shall await further moves on the chess board.
It continues to amaze me how our state government can justify permitting these places, including VictoryLand in Macon County, clearly legal operations under our laws, to be closed by grandstanding attorney generals who fail to close down the largest illegal gambling operation in the state, sports betting.
Try taking on that task Mr. Strange.
The legislature has left town so the food and drink places are hurting. So what did they do while they were in town? Here are some good, some bad, measures that became law.
Passed: Prohibiting all former lawmakers from lobbying members of either legislative chamber within two years of leaving office.
Died: Would have allowed loaded pistols to be carried in a vehicle without a concealed carry permit.
Passed: Increases from 24 to 48 hours the time between when a woman receives information about abortion risks and fetal development and when an abortion can be performed.
Died: Would prohibit abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, something which can occur as early as six weeks.
Passed: Authorizes UAB to study the use of cannabidiol to treat severe epilepsy.
Died: Would allow school districts to opt out of Common Core standards.
Passed: Requires applicants for temporary assistance for needy families to apply for three jobs before becoming eligible.
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