As some in the Cotton State are familiar, electronic bingo hall raids are a throwback to a bygone era that saw all kinds of “outlaw” gaming events in Alabama. Per a recent article from a political publication in the state, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday confirmed it had participated in raids on at least two Jefferson County electronic bingo casinos. Moreover, the AG’s office confirmed it had shuttered the locations in the process as well. Another outlet, ABC 33/40 News also reported early last week that notices posted on the doors of both establishments had declared them a “public nuisance” and warned against people entering the premises.
For this report, SBS will be going over the latest gaming developments in the Cotton State along with more notes about Alabama wagering.
Per the report from the Alabama Political Reporter, the raids in Jefferson County are the latest in a multi-year feud between AG Steve Marshall and County Sheriff Mark Pettway. While one would commonly think that the AG would work with local law enforcement, Pettway has let it be known that his office has no intention of shutting down electronic bingo establishments in the county. This is also seen across the United State with various small towns having issued licenses to multiple casinos and electronic bingo establishments. Per the report, this battle has gone on for years now between the AG and the Jefferson County Sheriff.
As the article notes, Marshall has in the past publicly and privately requested that Pettway close the casinos in Jefferson County. However, the sheriff has ignored those requests and offered little explanation aside from the fact that his office lacks the resources to concern itself with bingo law enforcement. However, this is juxtaposed with some personal information related to the law enforcement head honcho. In 2019, the sheriff’s brother, Bruce Pettway, received a license from the city of Graysville, in Jefferson County, to operate an electronic bingo casino. This then set off a chain of events starting with Marshall seizing more than $200,000 from Bruce Pettway, claiming the money was obtained illegally through the casino.
Per the same report, after the Attorney General seized his assets, Bruce Pettway then sued Marshall, claiming the seizure was an overreach and politically motivated. A federal judge would later agree with this sentiment, however, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision, ruling that Marshall has qualified immunity from the lawsuit. With that in the background, the raids last Tuesday also renewed a decades-old fight over the definition of bingo in the state, a unique situation that has grown over time in Alabama.
What is interesting about bingo in Alabama is that unlike the federal government and most other states in America, by way of a “manufactured state supreme court decision,” has chosen to limit the definition of bingo to a game played only on paper cards. Moreover, the state has multiplied counties with constitutional amendments that allow for bingo halls, but not “electronic bingo halls.” However, ever since former Alabama Governor Bob Riley decided years ago that electronic games were illegal, the raids began in the state.
After you are all squared away regarding the latest gaming news in Alabama, SBS has your back with a ton of other great gaming information. First off, if you are in need of more information about the state at hand, our sports betting in Alabama guide is a must-read resource that can provide you with the latest Cotton State news. Moreover, if you are looking to supercharge your bets, the SBS best bonus betting sites rundown is a great page to browse. Here, you can find a fantastic catalog of different bonus offers. Finally, for those on the go, the SBS best betting apps breakdown gives you all you need to know regarding mobile betting sites. SBS has done a lot of the heavy lifting for you by putting all of these resources in one easy-to-find spot.