Employees and Casino Reacts: VictoryLand Shut Down


By Jessica Gertler

From Macon County -- VictoryLand  is shut down today after Attorney General Luther Strange served a search warrant there, because of what he says are illegal gambling machines.  Alabama News Network was first on the scene.

The VictoryLand entrance was blocked off Tuesday morning. Employees stood on the side of the road waiting for answers.

"I see a lot of sheriff's cars. A lot of state troopers. A lot of police officers," says one employee as she describes the scene.

Around 250 employees were hired when the casino reopened in December. 

Alabama News Network spoke with one VictoryLand employee. She did not want to give her name.

"I need my job. I have four babies! I need work," she says.

Attorney General Luther Strange issued the warrant after he says state agents "determined the gaming machines were illegal." Strange was out of town Tuesday, but in a press release, he says agents seized several hundred machines and an undisclosed amount of cash, which was hauled off by semi-trucks. Strange says it will be held as evidence.

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor says he took precautions. The Macon County Sheriff's Office and an independent gaming expert signed off on the new 400 electronic bingo machines in the casino saying they complied with state laws.

"They have come in here and have closed us down completely," says McGregor's attorney Joe Espy. "They have cut off our power. We cannot even open the part which they acknowledge is legal. The employees have been told to go home!"

Espy says the circuit judge was forced to sign the warrant by the Alabama Supreme Court. Alabama News Network has learned that the judge wrote next to his signature "only with the greatest judicial reluctance."

"From here on after, does this mean if you don't like what the judges do, you can overrun them without any hearings and without any opposition?" says Espy. "I don't know. This is really, really a dangerous precedent."

Espy says everything has been shut down including the restaurants and the dog track area. He says it looks like it will stay that way for the next 24 to 48 hours.

State troopers tried to raid VictoryLand back in 2010 when then-governor Bob Riley declared the machines to be illegal.

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