Senator asks AG to withdraw objection to VictoryLand liquor license


State Sen. Billy Beasley has asked Attorney General Luther Strange, in a letter requesting he withdraw his objection to the liquor license for the casino at VictoryLand, to give his constituents in Macon County the same courtesy as the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

The casino at VictoryLand in Shorter. (Mickey Welsh/Advertiser)

“It is my understanding that the Poarch Creek Indians are licensed by the Alabama ABC Board at all three of their casinos in Alabama and that your office did not object to the ABC Board issuing them licenses,” Beasley, D-Clayton, wrote in a Tuesday afternoon letter to Strange.

While Strange has argued the state does not have jurisdiction over gambling on Poarch Creek lands in Montgomery, Wetumpka, and Atmore, officials have said the three casinos do have liquor licenses from the state.

A panel at the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will hear the objection during a 9 a.m. hearing today.

“As the senator for Macon County and as a small business owner in a neighboring county who knows small business owners in Macon and Bullock counties – I have personally seen the difference that VictoryLand makes in the local economy,” Beasley wrote in the letter.

State Sen. Billy Beasley, D-Clayton (Mickey Welsh/Advertiser)

Beasley, D-Clayton, points out that VictoryLand employed more than 2,000 people that received benefits and competitive wages before there was a controversy about the legality of so-called electronic bingo. And, he wrote, the facility generated millions in taxes and for non-profit organizations.

Strange believes the machines at the casino are slot machines, which are illegal in the state, and that the board should not approve a license for a location with criminal activity.

Attorney General Luther Strange

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor, his attorneys, and supporters believe the machines play electronic bingo that meets local and state regulations.

Beasley also points out that county voters and local political leaders, including Sheriff David Warren, who oversees bingo in the county by virtue of his position, support the operation. Warren has declared the machines are legal.

“This is a local issue, decided by local voters, in a local referendum,” Beasley wrote. “Gambling has been legal in Macon County for over 30 years. The voters in Macon County were well aware that they were voting to authorize an additional form of gambling – electronic bingo – to be competitive with the Poarch Creek casinos in Alabama.”

McGregor attorney Joe Espy has said the attorney general contesting a liquor license is unprecedented.

Strange has simply said he is enforcing the law.

– posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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