Thursday, June 2, 2011

Greenetrack CEO surprised by raid

Bingo Raid
UNION, Alabama -- Alabama State Troopers and agents with the ABI conducted a raid at two bingo facilities Wednesday June 1, 2011 and seized close to 700 bingo machines. Law enforcement personnel stand in the entrance of Greentrack in Union as moving fans wait outside the facility for machines.
Alabama State Troopers conducted a raid at two bingo facilities in Greene County today and seized close to 700 bingo machines. Employees and patrons lined the road outside of Greentrack in Union as moving vans wait outside the facility for machines. (The Birmingham News/Frank Couch)Greenetrack president and CEO Luther Winn said in a press conference this afternoon that he had been negotiating with representatives in the Attorney General's Office over bingo operations at his facility and was surprised when state officials raided the track this morning. 
 Greenetrack was shut down last summer after a dispute over whether electronic bingo machines that looked similar to slot machines were legal under Alabama's charity bingo law, Greenetrack reopened earlier this year with machines that looked like computer monitors. Officials there have contended those machines meet a test the state Supreme Court set out to qualify as bingo.

But Attorney General Luther Strange has questioned that contention. He said in a press release today that he had tried "to resolve this matter with minimal controversy," but Greenetrack had "refused to compromise or discuss this matter in good faith."

Officers with the Department of Public Safety, the Attorney General's Office and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board this morning raided Greenetrack and another Greene County bingo hall, Frontier Bingo, and confiscated about 700 machines.

Greentrack Bingo Raided 06.01.11
Winn said the result was to put 140 employees out of a job for a second time.

"Here today we are devastated by another tornado that was created by Attorney General Luther Strange." Winn said, surrounded by about three dozen employees and other Greene County residents.  Workers and residents of the area were upset about the loss of jobs and money bingo provided to charities in the counties.

Mary Parham, 24, worked at Greenetrack for four years and was laid off for 10 months after last year's raid. She began working again when bingo operations restarted in March. "I think they're wrong. I think it's unfair to take people's jobs," she said today.

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