The US state of Alabama has been turned into a bingo battleground as the state’s governor, Bob Riley, fights to cleanse his state of all electronic bingo machines. American gambling laws leave it up to individual states to decide about bingo, and a recent Supreme Court Case has left the laws in Alabama very unclear. While Riley claims that electronic bingo games in Alabama are currently illegal, developers disagree, and continue to spend millions of dollars expanding the state’s electronic bingo industry.
The court case in question involved a bingo establishment called White Hall. Governor Riley wanted to send his Task Force on Illegal Gambling into White Hall and shut them down, but the Alabama Supreme Court prevented the raid from taking place. No official decision was ever made regarding the legality of electronic bingo in Alabama, though the court did outline parameters that bingo machines would have to meet in order to be considered legal. Despite the unresolved issue, Riley insists that the court’s decision implied that electronic bingo is illegal in Alabama, and is working to shut it down.
While White Hall has been closed temporarily while its bingo machines are being examined, the development of new bingo halls in the state is proceeding unhindered. A new hall is set to open in the town of Dothan on December 1st. It will feature 1,700 electronic bingo machines. These electronic bingo games are very similar to online bingo games, but they are only networked locally, and are not actually connected to the internet.
Governor Riley recently called on other American states for assistance. He recently sent letters to gaming commissions in Nevada, New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arizona, asking them to inform bingo companies under their jurisdiction to stop offering illegal games in Alabama. Since the legal status of electronic bingo in the state is not clear, the games won’t be going away anytime soon.
The United States is currently host a similar battle that is being waged over the legality online gambling in the country, and it is not yet clear what will be the fate of online bingo games in the US. The next few months will be crucial for both battles, and bingo fans in Alabama and other states wait patiently to know what will happen to American bingo, both online and offline.