Illegal gambling task force going to AG’s office
Governor-Elect Robert Bentley today announced plans to assign the work of the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling to the Attorney General’s Office on January 17, 2011, when he and Attorney General-Elect Luther Strange take office.
“By assigning all pending cases and investigative authority to the Attorney General’s office, I have transferred the primary responsibility for ensuring that Alabama’s gambling laws are enforced statewide to Attorney General-Elect Luther Strange,” said Governor-Elect Bentley. “I will fully support Attorney General Luther Strange in his efforts to enforce the laws of Alabama, including laws against illegal gambling,” Governor-Elect Bentley said. “Attorney General Strange will follow the law on gambling and he will have my full support.”
Attorney General-Elect Luther Strange thanked Governor-Elect Bentley for his confidence and said the Attorney General’s office will not back down from enforcing Alabama’s gambling laws under his leadership.
“The people of Alabama have elected me to enforce the laws of this great state. I intend to enforce the rule of law as it is written and in strict accordance with the decisions of the Alabama Supreme Court,” said Attorney General-Elect Strange.
Governor-Elect Bentley and Attorney General-Elect Strange said gambling establishments now closed under threat of raid by the Task Force should not mistake today’s announcement as a signal to open their casinos. It simply means the Attorney General will be the officer at the statewide level taking primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting those that own, operate or house illegal gambling machines.
Attorney General-Elect Strange stated, “I will work with the local District Attorneys who are willing to be a part of our team.”
The state’s legal position for the enforcement of Alabama’s prohibition of slot machines as it relates to so-called “electronic bingo” will continue to be as follows:
1. Any machine that meets the definition of a slot machine or gambling device pursuant to Sections 13A-12-20 (5) and (10) of the Code of Alabama (1975) will be seized, gambling proceeds will be seized, forfeiture actions will be pursued; and any persons who are in the possession of illegal slot machines or who are promoting illegal gambling will be prosecuted, period.
2. Absolutely no constitutional amendment in the State of Alabama authorizes the use of machines that accept cash or credit and then dispense cash value prizes based upon chance. Machines with those features are slot machines and are not made legal by any bingo amendment. Likewise, no local bingo rule, regulation or ordinance can legally authorize slot machines.
3. The six factors defining bingo laid out by the Alabama Supreme Court in the Cornerstone case will be applied strictly. Those factors cannot be changed, diluted, waived, redefined or reinterpreted by local rule, local regulation, or local definitions, nor through purported certifications from a gaming laboratory.
4. The Attorney General’s office will provide guidance to prosecutors after the transition, but the operators of gambling establishments throughout our state should clearly understand the legal position of the State of Alabama moving forward beginning on January 17, 2011.