Attorney hopes VictoryLand will be open by Christmas with 1,200 machines, 200 employees

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An attorney for VictoryLand said on Thursday that the casino plans to open by the end of the year, hopefully by Christmas, with more than 1,200 machines and 200 to 250 people working.

Joe Espy, who represents owner Milton McGregor and is assisting with the reopening, said “this is kind of a moving target,” but the facility could open as soon as next week.

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

Espy said more than 3,200 people asked for jobs, but said unfortunately they cannot accommodate all of them at this time. He said some are training now.

Espy said about 60 charities have applied to receive funds from the casino.

The attorney said they plan to open the facility up gradually and they hope that other gaming rooms and portions of the complex will be opened up as they are able. He said they hope to eventually return to employing almost 2,500 people once the facility is up and running.

“It will take us some time,” Espy said.

He said they will originally open the west gaming room, an ice cream shop that serves sandwiches, a bar in that portion of the facility, a club, and a café.

“We will begin with that,” Espy said.

He said they will not be opening the hotel or the steakhouse originally.

Espy said that they could not open until the machines were certified.

“Until our machines were declared certified and legal, we could not continue to move forward and expend funds. Well, that happened yesterday,” he said to reporters on Thursday at his Montgomery law office. “As of yesterday, the machines that we will be using were certified as legal bingo machines.”

Macon County Sheriff David Warren, who by law promulgates rules for bingo in the county, hired experts with BMM Compliance, a company that works throughout the world to test machines, to verify that the machines were legal by state and local law and played bingo.

“As of yesterday, the machines that we will be using were certified as legal bingo machines,” Espy said.

Espy, Warren and the experts with BMM said the machines play bingo and are not slot machines, which are illegal in the state.

Some state officials including Attorney General Luther Strange believe the machines are slot machines and have vowed to enforce the rule of law in the state.

McGregor closed the facility in August 2010 with the looming threat of a raid from a task force formed by then-Gov. Bob Riley.

After he was acquitted in a federal corruption trial earlier this year, McGregor vowed to reopen VictoryLand by the end of the year.

– posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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