McGregor plans to reopen VictoryLand this month, has applied for liquor license

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VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor appears poised to make good on a promise he made the day after he was acquitted on federal corruption charges.

The casino, which is located 20 miles east of Montgomery in Shorter, has applied for a liquor license and his attorney confirmed McGregor plans to reopen the casino by the end of the year.

“In March 2012, Mr. McGregor said VictoryLand would be open by the end of the year and that continues to be his plan and the plan of Macon County and we’re moving forward with his plans,” attorney Joe Espy said Tuesday. He confirmed the facility would include electronic bingo.

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor at his casino in March 2008. (Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser)

In response to VictoryLand’s plans, Attorney General Luther Strange said in a statement that “Judge Vance’s ruling last week in the Lowndes County case emphasized that there is no reasonable argument that so-called electronic bingo machines are legal anywhere in Alabama. Slot machines are illegal in all 67 counties, including Macon County. This office will enforce the rule of law accordingly.”

McGregor said on March 7 after he was acquitted on federal corruption charges that he planned to reopen.

The casino applied for the liquor license in November and the Macon County Commission approved it in November, according to individuals at the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and the Macon County Commission. But the license now goes back before the ABC board for consideration.

There has been activity at the casino for months and there has been speculation about VictoryLand reopening. And people know McGregor, who had added the Oasis hotel and other amenities in the fall of 2009, just months before he shut the facility down, was losing money with the facility closed.

McGregor closed Victoryland in August 2010 after repeated threats of raids from a gambling task force put together by then-Gov. Bob Riley. Riley and his supporters contend the machines used at the facility are slot machines, which are illegal in the state. McGregor believes the machines play legal, electronic bingo.

McGregor and 10 others, including Country Crossing developer Ronnie Gilley, lobbyists and four state senators, were arrested in October 2010. They were accused of being involved in a conspiracy to bribe state lawmakers to support pro-gambling legislation. Gilley and two of his lobbyists pleaded guilty. Jurors found McGregor and two of his lobbyists not guilty during the two trials.

In an interview after McGregor was found not guilty, he said he planned to reopen the casino. He said he had focused his efforts and energy on defending himself.

McGregor, on Tuesday, referred the Montgomery Advertiser to Espy for comment.

– posted by Sebastian Kitchen and Brian Lyman

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