Supreme Court denies immediate Victoryland raid

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 12, 2010

MONTGOMERY (AP) — The Alabama Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to let the governor’s gambling task force immediately raid the state’s largest electronic bingo casino and seize its machines, which are now silent and hidden from public view.

The state’s highest court unanimously turned down a request from task force commander John Tyson to clear the way for a raid at Victoryland in Macon County. The county’s sheriff and district attorney, who support the gambling operation, had argued that there was no emergency that warranted an immediate raid.

The loss was the first for Tyson at the Supreme Court in the seven months he has led the task force formed by Gov. Bob Riley to shut down electronic bingo machines. Riley and Tyson call them illegal slot machines.

Tyson sought a ruling from the Supreme Court last week after a Macon County judge blocked him from raiding the sprawling gambling complex, which is so large that it has its own police force and fire station. The entire Victoryland complex, including its dog track, restaurants and hotel, closed Monday to try to prevent a raid by the governor’s task force.

“The closure of the slot machine casino has certainly diminished the need for immediate relief from the Supreme Court. If Victoryland were to reopen, we would renew our motion with the court,” Tyson said Wednesday.