MACON COUNTY, Ala. – VictoryLand is back open for business again. This comes after the state seized more than 1,000 slot-like gambling machines during a raid back in 2013.
The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that VictoryLand’s electronic bingo machines are illegal. Governor Robert Bentley signed an executive order last year removing the Attorney General’s authority to enforce gambling laws and giving it to county sheriffs.
Owner Milton McGregor welcomed thousands of customers back to VictoryLand with its reopening Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re proud to be back where we’re legally entitled to be,” McGregor said.
He says he’s not worried about any legal issues because the Macon County Sheriff and District Attorney say the bingo machines are legal despite the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling.
“The bingo and any gaming issue will be handled by sheriff and the DA to determine the legality and they have done that and without question, everything on this floor is legal,” he explained.
State Representative Pebblin Warren of District 82 says the reopening has been a long time coming.
“With VictoryLand opening it just does so much for Macon County. It does so much for the state of Alabama and it’s probably one of the best tax revenue generating entities in the state of Alabama,” Rep. Warren said.
Matilda Woodyard-Hamilton came to VictoryLand before it closed a few years ago.
“It looks about the same. It’s a lot smaller. A lot of the areas are not open yet, but it looks about the same,” she said.
Customer Eve Phillips says the reopening will benefit area schools.
“Having a daughter that’s a teacher, we hurt and we’re just so glad that he’s back and going because it’s going to be great for the economy,” Phillips said.
McGrecor says he has plans to reopen the restaurant and Oasis Hotel. There are just over 500 electronic bingo machines on the floor.
VictoryLand hired about 200 workers. VictoryLand will be open 24/7 since its reopening Tuesday.
McGregor says Tuesday is typically the slowest day of the week at any gaming facility. He chose the slowest day of the week to keep employees from being overwhelmed and to work out any potential kinks.