Once again a circuit court judge in Alabama has ruled that county’s bingo amendment protects electronic bingo games that are played in local casinos, and that the Alabama Attorney General’s office must return 825 bingo machines it confiscated during a 2010 raid.
Judge Houston Brown, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge ruled that Greene County’s 2003 constitutional amendment legalizing bingo in that county was the first of its kind and the only one to define bingo using the terms “electronic device” and “electronic marking device.”
“Based upon the great weight of the evidence, which was largely undisputed by the state, the court finds that the games at issue were and are authorized by amendment 743 (Greene County),” Brown wrote in his ruling.
Additionally, Brown wrote that expert testimony during the case proved that the electronic bingo games in question met the bingo test laid out by the state Supreme Court in its 2009 “Cornerstone” ruling. ….read original article
“The decision today by a judge specially appointed by the Alabama Supreme Court finally decides once and for all that Amendment 743 means what it says: electronic bingo is legal in Greene County,” said GreeneTrack CEO Luther “Nat” Winn. “Attorney General Strange should honor that decision. Strange has no grounds for an appeal. He did not offer a single shred of evidence to dispute that Amendment 743 means what it says. He did not offer a single witness with any knowledge about Amendment 743 or the operation of these games.”
Strange’s office apparently has no intention of letting the ruling stand. In a statement, Strange said Brown’s ruling “ignores the law as made crystal clear by the Alabama Supreme Court as recently as March 31.”
Strange said his office will file a motion to stay Brown’s order and file an appeal with the Supreme Court.
Brown noted in his ruling that the state presented only a “lay expert” to counter the testimony of GreeneTrack’s expert witnesses, and that when questioned, the state’s expert admitted that he would find the games illegal even if they met every standard laid out in the Cornerstone ruling.
The Cornerstone requirements include games are played on cards, numbers be randomly drawn, players physically mark their cards, players play against each other and announce their wins. Brown wrote that GreeneTrack’s expert witnesses were able to prove that the games in question met each of those requirements, even if done so electronically.
But most important to Brown in deciding the case was the language of Greene County’s amendment and the legislative and voter intent involved in creating the amendment.