Manufacturers, Suppliers Warned By Alabama Governor That Bingo Machines May Be Illegal

January 29, 2009

Alabama Governor Bob Riley sent letters Wednesday to nine gambling machine manufacturing and supplier companies known to do business in the state. Riley is specifically targeting electronic bingo machines like are found at the Poarch Creek Indian’s Wind Creek Casino in Atmore.

However, the electronic bingo games offered by the Poarch Creek Indians at the Wind Creek Casino as well as gambling halls in Wetumpka and Montgomery,  are regulated by the federal government, not the State of Alabama.  In his release, Riley did not name what gambling operations he was targeting. Hundreds of electronic bingo machines are also located at establishments in several Alabama counties where bingo games are legal.

Riley sent the letters to manufacturers of gambling machines found in Alabama gambling halls warning them they risk prosecution if found to be in violation of state law against gambling and, specifically, slot machines.

The warnings come after an initial investigation of gambling halls by the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling, which is led by former Jefferson County District Attorney David Barber.

“As a result of preliminary investigations conducted by the Task Force, it has been discovered that several manufacturers and/or providers of gambling devices appear to be engaged in unlawful gambling activity in Alabama. We understand that at least one provider has already begun the process of removing its gambling devices from establishments in Alabama. The purpose of this letter is to put your company on clear notice of the law and our intent to enforce it,” Governor Riley writes in the letter that was sent to nine manufacturers or providers of gambling machines.

“I am deeply concerned that many manufacturers, providers, and business operators may have a mistaken impression about the legality of certain activities. It is out of this concern that I provide you this notice of the law and a fair opportunity to withdraw from any business activity in Alabama which could be determined to constitute unlawful gambling activity or use of illegal gambling devices. So that there is no misunderstanding, I fully intend to carry out my constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws of Alabama,” the Governor’s letter states.

“I think it only fair that Governor Riley put the manufacturers on notice of the very liberal interpretations of ’gambling devices’ by Alabama’s appellate courts. It appears to me, based on what the Task Force has observed in the field, that these operators, distributors, and manufacturers have some potential exposure,” said Barber.

The Governor created the Task Force on Illegal Gambling in December to promote and support the uniform enforcement of Alabama’s anti-gambling laws.

Click here to read a copy of Ala. Gov. Bob Riley’s letter (pdf).

The following is a list of recipients of the Governor’s letter:

Mr. Jerome Caldwell, CEO
Gateway Gaming
Piedmont, South Carolina

Mr. Chris Canard, CEO
Hest Technology
Haltom City, Texas

Mr. Gene Chayevsky, CEO
Cadillac Jack, Inc.
Duluth, Georgia

Mr. Mike Duran, CEO
American Gaming Systems
Canoga Park, California

Mr. Jack Gardner, President
Select Electronic Devices
Greenville, South Carolina

Mr. Michael Fletcher, CEO
Nova Gaming, LLC
Greenville, South Carolina

Mr. Richard Haddrill, CEO
Bally Technologies
Las Vegas, Nevada

Mr. Thomas J. Matthews, CEO
International Game Technology
Reno, Nevada

Mr. Anthony Sanfilippo, CEO
Multimedia Games
Austin, Texas


12 Responses to “Manufacturers, Suppliers Warned By Alabama Governor That Bingo Machines May Be Illegal”

  1. John D. on August 7th, 2009 4:44 pm

    The U.S. Dept. of Interior and the Poarch Creek Indians along with a new Governor will make Class 3 gaming a reality. Get out of the dark ages Alabama.

  2. Beverly on April 28th, 2009 6:15 pm

    Gov. Riley is upset that if gaming laws are passed in Alabama, The Mississippi Casinos will stop paying him money under the table to keep it out. That’s the real reason he has his panties in a wad

  3. Jerry on January 29th, 2009 9:33 pm

    I wonder if it isn’t just a simple matter of the fact there is a law that Riley wants to have obeyed. Isn’t it possible it’s not a moral or personal crusade, but that Riley believes that we are a nation of laws and that’s the bottom line?

    If people want to make changes in a law, they don’t necessarily have to jump on Riley, but harass the legislators to get the law changed.

    Of course, it seems the Alabama Attorney General is not in agreement with the governor, so it might happen that a court will have to decide who’s right.

  4. Leigh on January 29th, 2009 7:51 pm

    I am glad we have PCI. I wish our Gov. would approve a state lottery. Look how much that would help our students. Take a look at Fl. Come on ppl it is not all that bad. I personally have not been to the new casino and only went to Biloxi 3 times. But if ppl here want to spend there money then let them spend it in our state.

    If the ones that own the machines are paying taxes on them and to our state then what is the big deal. Get off your high horse and think of our State not just what YOU want, Gov Riley.

  5. Teacher on January 29th, 2009 1:05 pm

    Gov. Riley is simply on a glorified moral tangent. Wind Creek Casino would LOVE to have better games other than just bingo. They would LOVE poker, black jack, roulette, etc. Good ole Riley is the one preventing them from obtaining their Class 3 gaming licence. As soon as this state gets a new governor (not soon enough), Poarch will be on their way to Montgomery to petition for class 3 gaming.

    Also, it is true that Wind Creek doesn’t have to pay any taxes. Ok, that’s just fine. The bigger their operation becomes and the more people who come into Atmore, the more money this city/county will receive. When Rivercane really gets up and running, don’t you think people staying in the luxurious rooms of Wind Creek will hop across the street to Rivercane? That money will go to the city/county/state.

    Wind Creek is NOT the abomination that conservative Alabamians think it is. It is providing jobs (in tough job times), it is stimulating travel through Atmore (resulting in people spending their money), and it is bringing a glimmer of hope to a dying town. If people in Atmore don’t want change/progress, they will quickly watch this tiny town melt into nothingness.

  6. Willard on January 29th, 2009 8:14 am

    The bingo gaming is not regulated at Wind Creek by Alabama, but that does not rule out the game machines. If you can’t drive them across the state line into Alabama, you can’t deliver them to Wind Creek or Tallapoosa. Or you can’t service them. The governor ain’t stupid. He’s cutting off the supplier if he gets his way.

  7. Arnold Johnson on January 29th, 2009 7:54 am

    Apparently the goofball posters here can’t read. The task force and the Governor are NOT going after the Indians, Wind Creek, etc. Morons. The story (and the law) says they have no authority there. They are, instead, going after the charities like the VFW that run Bingo halls in Walker County, Jefferson County, and so on. Jeeze. learn to read.

  8. Willard on January 29th, 2009 7:21 am

    Thanks northesccambia for doing this story.I bet it won’t be on the evening news or in the mobile or atmore papers…they get too much money from wind creek. Northeescambia won’t take their money, and they report the real news!

  9. SQ on January 29th, 2009 7:14 am

    Wind Creek amounts to legal rape of Alabama and Atmore. They are getting screwed. Go get em Bob Riley!

  10. Mark on January 29th, 2009 7:14 am

    In you case you don’t understand what Nikii posted below about payouts…In Mississippi, they must payout 80% of what goes in a machine. If a slot machine, which in Mississippi is really a slot machine, not a bingo machine, takes in $10,000, they must payout $8,000 in prizes on the slots. Plus, the state of Mississippi gets taxes on the 20%

    At Wind Creek, there is no requirement. They can take in the $10,000 and payout $5 if they want to, and pay no taxes. They are laughing the way all the way to bank!

  11. Nikki on January 29th, 2009 7:10 am have a good point…Alabama needs the taxes. But Alabama gets ZERO TAXES FROM WIND CREEK. The taxes don’t help schools or roads because WIND CREEK PAYS ZERO TAXES. No federal, no state, no Atmore. If they are going to have that casino, they need to pay taxes.

    While we are on the subject, why do people even think it is really a casino? It’s nothing but hundreds of bingo machines in a fancy building. In case you have not been there, save yourself the trip. There’s no real slot machine, no poker, nothing real like Biloxi. It’s all glorified bingo on a machine. They won’t even say what their payouts are, or if they even payout at all except one day a week. In Mississippi, the slots must payout 80% or more. There’s no regulation in Alabama on Wind Creek…they can keep it all if they want.

    Go to Biloxi. Sure, you spend more in gas, but you might actually win something, and at least Mississippi pays for their schools. Beats robbing yourself and Alabama.

  12. Jean on January 29th, 2009 6:14 am

    I am sure that Al. Governor Riley could find a lot more to spent time and money on. Look at our schools and roads. The Taxes help us from these bingo machines like are found at the Poarch Creek Indian’s Wind Creek Casino in Atmore, It is better than all the money going to Fl. and Mississippi. The white man stold the Indian’s land and now that they have it back and making money the Gov. can’t get over it. GOVERNOR RAILEY GET A LIFE — If the governor wants to go after something then here is him a good one—-how can people set in a BAR for hours dranking and then go out and get in the car and drive home or to another bar? Put a Task Force on that one and quit wasting Al. money.