State troopers are on the scene at Greene Charity Bingo. (Photo: Kelvin Reynolds)
Greene Charity Bingo (Photo: Kelvin Reynolds)
State troopers block the entrance to Greenetrack. (Photo: Kelvin Reynolds)
State troopers outside Greenetrack. (Photo: Kelvin Reynolds)
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
State troopers seized more than 1,000 gambling machines while raiding four separate bingo parlors in Greene County Monday morning, according to the Attorney General's Office.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety and the Attorney General's Office teamed up to raid the following locations: Greenetrack and Greene Charity in Eutaw and Frontier Bingo and River's Edge in Knoxville.
Attorney General Luther Strange said the raids are in response to alleged illegal gambling operations going on at the casinos. The ABI, state troopers and other Department of Pubic Safety employees helped carry out the raids.
Strange said the gambling machines, as well as cash seized from the casinos, will be held as evidence and will be subject to forfeiture procedures in Greene County's circuit court.
"Today's actions are the culmination of an investigative process over the last several months," Strange said in a release.
"From my first day in office, I have worked to ensure that illegal gambling laws are enforced consistently across the state. These casinos were operating in open defiance of the rule of law and we have been left with no alternative but to treat this as we would any other law enforcement matter," Strange said.
Search warrants obtained by FOX6 News show that agents, in addition to cash and gambling machines, seized computers, laptops, travel expense reports, telephone records, and electronic cards or other devices that would allow access to restricted areas at each location.
Greenetrack president Luther Winn released the following statement on Monday in response to the raid:
"Today marks yet another sad chapter in a long history of partisan harassment of our operations. The attempts by the Alabama Attorney General to go after Greenetrack for legitimate gaming compelled us to suspend an aspect of our gaming in an abundance of caution. Such targeting by the Attorney General is clearly a blatant political maneuver meant to undermine and damage our efforts to expand our operations into other states. While an inconvenience and an injustice, we are confident that fair minded people will see this transparently unethical action exactly for what it is…political blackmail. Using police powers to pursue a partisan political agenda is an abuse of power. After years of persecution and discrimination this has become an emotional issue for our supporters in Alabama.
Greenetrack had made the decision to temporarily suspend electronic bingo operations some time ago. Our decision to temporarily suspend one aspect of our gaming operations was made out of an abundance of caution in order to ensure the safety of our patrons, supporters who deeply oppose this charade and the members of law enforcement community who are compelled to do their job. The truth is that industry experts have time and time again offered legal and technical analysis that the electronic bingo games offered by Greenetrack are in fact bingo games - comporting with all federal and state laws. The sad reality is that our decision to temporarily suspend operations will not only inconvenience our customers -- it puts people out of work. Hundreds of families tonight have one less bread winner. While we have temporarily suspended electronic bingo we remain in full operation.
Greenetrack continues to simulcast greyhound and thoroughbred horse racing from over 40 tracks across the USA. We apologize to our loyal customers for this inconvenience and promise that while we will continue to stand up against discrimination and political blackmail we remain committed to the high standards of excellence you expect from us."