Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore said Monday that Attorney General Luther Strange “has done an excellent job” trying to enforce gambling laws in Alabama.
Moore, speaking to the Montgomery Rotary Club, said that gambling has been an issue since he first arrived on the court in 2001 for his first term as chief justice. Strange has sought to shut down gambling operations with so-called electronic bingo in the state through raids and has filed action against the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in civil court, although the Poarch Creeks are under federal jurisdiction. The Poarch Creeks, the only federally recognized tribe in the state, operate casinos in Montgomery, Wetumpka, and Atmore.
“I think he is doing right to bring up the subject and start approaching it,” Moore said of Strange.
Moore said the Supreme Court has struggled with the controversial issue and said, when asked by someone in the audience if there would ever be a resolution, that the solution was to enforce the laws fairly across the state – at private facilities and Poarch Creek facilities.
“What’s not allowed in the general state population should not be allowed in Indian gambling,” he said.
With the Poarch Creeks under federal jurisdiction, some people believe that Strange will be unable to stop electronic gambling at the Poarch Creek facilities, and that his lawsuit in state court will fail because state courts have no jurisdiction on the land. Some argue that Strange, Moore and others including former Gov. Bob Riley misunderstand the law because the Poarch Creeks must follow federal laws and their definitions of what is Class II gambling, such as bingo, and not the state’s definition.
Strange and Riley believe the machines at the Poarch Creek facilities and those that were at the private facilities are slot machines, Class III gambling that is illegal in the state. Operators of the facilities disagree.
The Supreme Court recently ordered a Macon County circuit judge to sign a search warrant to allow for a raid at VictoryLand casino in Shorter, which was once the largest casino in the state. The audience member who asked about a resolution on the subject applauded Moore’s action on VictoryLand.
– posted by Sebastian Kitchen