Alabama Bingo Case May Not Be Heard By Alabama Sweepstakes Case


A claim filed by the holder of Country Crossing bonds from previous Gov. Bob Riley and his Task Force on Illegal Gambling has actually perished on the actions of the U.S. Supreme Court.


1-877-WIN-CAFE Alabama Sweepstakes Players

The Court recently receded to listen to the case delivered by the Lord Abbett Municipal Income Fund, which declared the actions of the task force precluded the bondholders from getting repayment on bonds connected to the advancement that had actually been verified by a neighborhood judge.

Country Crossing, which now functions under the name Center Phase Alabama, has actually issued regarding $ 29 million in bonds for the development, which was created to consist of numerous entertainment places along with an electronic bingo element. The bonds were expected to be paid back via costs gathered from bingo profits and some other entertainment profits at the progression. Endangered raids by the task force led Nation Crossing to shut its doors in early 2010, drying up the income stream made to pay back the funds.

The case failed in federal court when U.S. Area Court Judge Keith Watkins ruled there was no due process infraction given that Nation Crossing closed willingly. The fund appealed the decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which maintained the lesser court ruling, but for different reasons. “Simply put, the due process clause does not call for states to pay for those that look for to profit from possibly criminal business a hearing to develop the legality of the enterprise prior to state police officers have actually started a prosecution or forfeiture action,” the ruling mentioned.

In its request to the U.S. Supreme Court, attorneys for Lord Abbett declared this specific matter must be heard since the product in question– electronic bingo machines– had actually been confirmed in an area court as a suitable system to be utilized to create profits to repay the bonds. Then, when the state endangered to take the exact same machines later on, the building must have been permitted a hearing in court.

The petition further declared the state utilized concern tactics via public declarations and dangers of prosecution to prevent Nation Crossing from re-opening its doorways.

The State of Alabama refused all those arguments in a brief filed with the High court.



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Alabama NonProfit Has Equipment Confiscated


The non-profit organization that runs bingo at Center Stage Alabama says the attorney general’s confiscation of machines and money from its affair in July was unlawful, and urges all Houston County judges to eliminate themselves from the case.

The Houston Economic Development Association (HEDA) submitted the distinct motions Friday afternoon in Houston County Circuit Court. The movement to dismiss asserts investigators and professionals with the attorney general’s office failed to adhere to recognized law prior to and during its raid of the bingo structure at Center Stage July 26. Beyond 600 electronic bingo machines and greater than $ 283,000 were taken.

The movement seeking recusal of all Houston County Circuit judges declares judges are bound to a recusal based upon a 2009 choice to eliminate themselves from the electronic bingo concern.

In 2009, all five seated Houston County Circuit judges recused themselves from a movement to verify the issuance of bonds linked to the development of Country Crossing. The bonds were confirmed by Dale County Circuit Judge PB McLauchlin. The judges explained two reasons for the recusal. Initially, the bond validation request cited all citizens and residents of Houston County as having an interest in the bond validation process, making them parties at large in the case. Second, the judges stated they had actually been privy to various “extra judicial” discussions regarding the topic of electronic bingo.

Later in 2009, then-presiding Houston County Circuit Judge Brad Mendheim sent a letter to the state Judicial Inquiry Commission looking for guidance on the electronic bingo concern.

“The judges believe that litigation may occur concerning the legality of Country Crossing’s ‘charitable electronic bingo.’ Presently, no lawsuit is pending in the Houston County Circuit Court. Our inquiry is whether the recusal order entered in the bond validation lawsuit would also result in recusal … in a new lawsuit challenging charitable electronic bingo?” read Mendheim’s letter delivered Nov. 23, 2009.

The reaction from the Judicial Inquiry Commission dated Dec. 11, 2009, recommended “continued disqualification.”

Two new Houston County Circuit judges have been elected since the order, Michael Conaway and Kevin Moulton.

The motion for recusal additionally points out huge publicity pertaining to electronic bingo, Country Crossing and Center Stage lately and in the past.

“The pervasive media coverage and resultant public discourse serve to continue the previous disqualification of the judges who signed the orders in the previous lawsuits, as well as all other judges currently sitting in Houston County,” says HEDA’s motion, submitted by lawyers Ernie Hornsby and Ashton Ott.

In the movement to dismiss the case, HEDA suggests that the machines and money need to be given back to HEDA for many causes:

” HEDA ran bingo under rules and regulations approved by the Houston County Commission.

” All machines confiscated had a bingo stamp issued by the Houston County Commission, suggesting compliance with existing guidelines and laws.

” No criminal charges have been submitted against anybody resulting from the raid.

” No summons was ever effectively served on HEDA, offseting the forfeiture proceeding.

” Investigators failed to provide a factual basis for the search warrant that led to the raid.

“The State of Alabama has engaged in a pattern and practice of denying due process by exploiting what the State perceives is a loophole between the criminal rules and civil rules that permits it to seize property without notice or a hearing, in violation of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and the corresponding provisions of the Alabama Constitution,” the motion says.

The Attorney General will definitely have a number of days to submit reactions to the motions.

Center Stage Alabama continues to run paper bingo on the premises located on U.S. 231 South, approximately three miles from the Florida state line.



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Non Profit Bingo Establishment Had Equipment Seized Wrongfully


The Houston Economic Development Association, a non-profit team that runs bingo at Center Stage Alabama, alleges that the attorney general’s confiscation of machines and money from its affair in July was unlawful and all Houston County judges ought to separate themselves from the case.
As reported by the Dothan Eagle, two independent motions were submitted Friday– with the motion to dismiss asserting investigators and representatives with the attorney general’s office fell short to adhere to set law prior to and in the course of its raid of the bingo dome at Center Stage on July 26, where over 600 electronic bingo machines and over $ 283,000 were confiscated.
The motion pursuing extraction of all circuit judges in Houston County Circuit says judges are bound to a recusal based upon a decision in 2009 to eliminate themselves from the electronic bingo concern.




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Judge Blast Prosecutor In Alabama For Withholding Evidence (A Crime)


Alabama has consistently been known as a “good old boy” state. Their regional practices are not continually in sync with exactly how things are run in other jurisdictions and at a federal level. When those practices, however, violate a federal case, a judge can become bothered.

That held true this week when US Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel Jr. damned district attorneys in Alabama for distasteful practices in the course of a gambling corruption situation. The serious caution followed after prosecutors fell short to release FBI records to defense attorneys. Judge Capel made it transparent that while those strategies may be accepted in Alabama, they will definitely not be put up with at a federal level.

This is exceeding the line, it’s not going to happen,” stated Judge Capel Jr., in alerting the prosecutors that this kind of action will not be dealt with. The judge at that point alerted that sanctions will be coming if these practices proceed. “I’m not even going to think about it. There will be sanctions.”

The gambling case in Alabama derives from supposed bribery that occurred over a vote on whether to permit citizens to determine the future of electronic bingo gambling. Several senators were participants in taking the bribes, and gaming establishment owners Milton McGregor and Ronnie Gilley are charged with exchanging cash in for positive votes.

The gaming concern is one that has actually astounded Alabamians over the past several years. Previous Governor Robert Riley formed the Task Force on Illegal Gambling. The primary focus of the Task Force was to find and raid gaming businesses where the electronic bingo machines functioned.

All of the establishments had actually been shut since the start of the raids, yet Greenetrack once again began running the machines last week. Representatives for the track assert that the new machines meet the law requirements in Alabama. Attorney General Luther Strange has not pointed out whether his office agrees with the track’s claim.

Alabama has always been known as a “good old boy” state. Their local practices are not always in tune with how things are run in other jurisdictions and at a federal level. When those practices, however, infringe on a federal case, a judge can become upset.

That was the case this week when US Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel Jr. blasted prosecutors in Alabama for unsavory practices during a gambling corruption case. The stern warning came after prosecutors failed to turn over FBI records to defense attorneys. Judge Capel made it clear that while those tactics may be accepted in Alabama, they will not be tolerated at a federal level.

This is going over the line, it’s not going to happen,” said Judge Capel Jr., in warning the prosecutors that this type of action will not be tolerated. The judge then warned that sanctions will be coming if these practices continue. “I’m not even going to think about it. There will be sanctions.”

The gambling case in Alabama stems from alleged bribery that took place over a vote on whether to allow voters to decide the future of electronic bingo gambling. Several senators were involved in accepting the bribes, and gaming facility owners Milton McGregor and Ronnie Gilley are charged with offering up money in exchange for positive votes.

The gaming issue is one that has captivated Alabamians over the past several years. Former Governor Robert Riley established the Task Force on Illegal Gambling. The main focus of the Task Force was to seek out and raid gaming establishments where the electronic bingo machines were in operation.

All of the establishments had been closed since the raids began, but Greenetrack again started offering the machines last week. Officials for the track claim that the new machines meet the law requirements in Alabama. Attorney General Luther Strange has not said whether or not his office agrees with the track’s assertion.



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Alabama Raids Could Be Good News For Operators Running Games Correctly


On their Facebook web page, Center Stage Alabama guarantees they will continue to work. They tout paper bingo, drink specials as well as food.
It was Wednesday state investigators carried away their magnum opus, hundreds of electronic bingo machines.
“After all the communication we had and our desire to cooperate, one hundred percent on anything, to come in and do the confiscation was an iota of a shock,” Center Stage’s Frank Wendt pointed out.


Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange points out the service would not agree to allow the legitimacy of their machines play out in court.
“It was a common police affair. We had intended to have their cooperation yet at some point they need to abide by the law or we will just adhere to usual treatment,” Strange pointed out.
After being acquitted of bribing lawmakers to defend his casino, Milton McGregor pledged to reopen. His Victoryland closed almost 2 years ago, under the peril of a similar raid.
The events in Houston County last week may effectively put the brakes on his objective and position complications for the operators of Greenetrack and Southern Superstar Entertainment. Both are currently open with electronic bingo.
“I hope that delivers a note to all people that would violate the law across the state that we do not make the laws, we execute them,” Strange added.
There were not any apprehensions in the course of the raid of Center Stage. Detectives seized around seven hundred pieces of hardware and almost $ 3,000.
At the same time the attorney general wants to up the ante for those charged with operating unlawful gambling devices. He prefers the misdemeanor to increase to a felony.
Up until now there is no word out of Milton McGregor’s camp pertaining to just what this all means for Victoryland.



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Gaming sweepstakes terminals making there way in Bama


Many lottery customers rush to stores with dreams of cashing in on big jackpots. The South Carolina Education Lottery is legal, but back in 2000, lawmakers pulled the plug on video poker machines.

Now, there’s still a question about whether gaming sweepstakes are legal or not.

In March, Spartanburg City Council members voted to ban sweepstakes gaming machines for 60 days until they could get more information on how those machines work. Now, the 60 days are up, so council members put a new proposal on the table.

“Up next, gaming, gambling devices, first reading,” Spartanburg Mayor Junie White announced during a City Council meeting Monday night.

Council members took a gamble of their own and voted unanimously during a first reading to ban sweepstakes machines for 90 days until the South Carolina Supreme Court makes a decision about the gaming machines.

“We want the Supreme Court, we want to see what they’re going to do about it,” White said.

White said he thinks sweepstakes machines should be illegal.

“It’s just a form of gambling, that’s all it is, and that’s against the law in the state,” he said.

1-877-WIN-CAFE (946-2233)

In the past, some sweepstakes machines rewarded players with cash payouts, but now there are machines that reward players with coupons or other vouchers that they then take to buy online prizes.

But win or lose, City Council members said they aren’t taking a chance on sweepstakes machines, at least not yet.

The decision isn’t final. Council members will have a second and final reading on the proposed 90 day ban on May 29.

1-877-WIN-CAFE (946-2233)

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.



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Sweepstakes games may have free speech protection


Internet Sweepstakes businesses provide quality employment and fun entertainment for thousands across US.

“I need to check your purse to determine that you do not have a weapon” the security guard stated.

Lucky’s, located in a strip mall center just south of University and Cramer avenues, has much more than 50 desktop computers for customers to use the Internet at 25 cents a minute or send faxes at 50 cents a page.

Even though the video games appear almost identical to casino games, representatives of the Internet cafes insist what they are providing isn’t gambling but a type of sweepstakes promotion and that company model is thriving and based on the text inside the law they appear to become legal.

Within the last several weeks, along with Lucky’s, Airbase Cyber Cafe & Business Center Inc. in Roseville and Wild Rides Company Center & Internet Cafe in Chino have opened.

A representative from Lucky’s game software provider insisted that these promotions are no different than the sweepstakes that Mcdonalds has online and within their stores. “Its the same concept as these major brands are providing and have provided for 20+ years. It just took longer to be implemented from traditional sweeps to internet sweeps” says Casey Rooks of Internet Sweepstakes Network.

Prosecutors from around the state admit they’re familiar with the Internet cafe business model, but the issue is that there is a technical word for gambling and these games do not fall within that definition. “It’s not againgst the law if its a true legitimate sweepstakes”

Prosecutors from around the state have been approached by representatives of sweepstakes gaming providers who met with interested parties to present their argument for the legality of their business model, magistrates across the country have agreed that the company model does not contain a critical component. Casey Rooks explains “The transaction lacks a legal term called ‘consideration” in order to have gambling you must have it”

How the Games Work ?

Upon entering a business cafe, a customer shows his driver’s license and buys Internet time. The customer’s information is placed on a swipe card. Along with Internet time purchased come entries into sweepstakes.

“With the computer age come ways to reveal your sweepstakes entries,” stated Casey Rooks, a spokesman for the Internet Sweepstakes Network on the west coast, which helps owners establish Internet cafes. “It’s very simple, but at the same time, it’s very complex.”

At Lucky’s, a Long Beach business reporter purchased $20 worth of internet time, though, was converted into 2,000 points that were used to pay various video poker and slot machine games. The internet time that was purchased was not effected by the wager of the player, his time was his no matter how much he played.

Depending on the amount wagered, points were deducted from those 2,000 points for each play. But for each win, those winning points were set aside in another category and could be cashed in when the player stopped playing or ran out of prepaid Internet time. The Long Beach business reporter cashed in his 1,200 winning points for $12.

At Lucky’s, free soft drinks and snacks from a vending machine were handed out to customers. One evening last week, an elderly woman said that she had recently won $125 at Lucky’s. When asked about how much she lost “Its a whole lot less than I would have if I went to a casino”

During the about 30 minutes a reporter was at Lucky’s, none of the dozen patrons – all of whom appeared to be over 50 – were using the machines to check the Internet. Customers had to be 21 or older to enter the company.

Rooks said the sweepstakes games were similar towards the games that McDonald’s offers.

“When you walk into a McDonalds and buy a happy meal you are given a cheeseburger, fries and a softdrink. The softdrink usually has a peel tab on the side in the cup (a monopoly game piece) in contrast when you walk into an Internet Sweepstakes Cafe and buy Internet Time you are given access to a computer that also has access to the internet and the sweepstakes games.

In both examples, you are not required to enter the sweepstakes because you did not buy the entry towards the sweepstakes, you actaully bought the product, in this example, the Happy meal and internet time are the product.

It is the customers choice whether or not to enter the sweepstakes by either “pulling the tab on the side in the soft drink cup” or “accesing the game on the computer that they purchased the internet time on”

Rooks continues “The money did not activate the game, the money bought a product and access to the sweepstakes were free for buying the product, thus eliminating one in the elements of the technical term of gambling (which is illegal in most juristictions) This arguement has been won in courts through-out the nation”

Florida Games

Some government officials in Florida and other states see the Internet cafes as gambling houses. But attempts to shut them down have been difficult because the courts seem to agree that the states arguement of gambling isn’t fulfilled.

When Seminole County, Fla., passed an ordinance in January to prohibit the simulated gambling devices, it was hit with a federal lawsuit. The Allied Veterans in the World Inc. sued the county on grounds that the ordinance violated the First Amendment and due process.

The lawsuit asks for a preliminary injunction to prevent the ordinance from being enforced. That motion was denied, and that ruling has been appealed.

“Luckys has a right to conduct drawings and sweepstakes promotions as part of their speech-related activities,” plaintiff’s attorney Kelly Dover wrote in his 49-page lawsuit, which was filed Feb. 1.

“Apparently, it would be acceptable for Luckys to make use of paper or speak through a tin can connected to another with a string to notify its clients that they had won the sweepstakes, but it isn’t acceptable to communicate the same material using a computer display,” he wrote in the lawsuit.

Dover said in an email to 123LA Weekly last week that the attacks towards the company model are coming because “law enforcement is confronted with something with which they’re unfamiliar and once we explain the business model its usually no longer an issue”

He said if law enforcement officials and politicians inspected the businesses they would see that the Internet cafes aren’t gambling houses and the business model has won court victories across the US.

“Those officials that look closely at the operation and the law usually conclude that the activity is not only lawful but beneficial towards the community rather than a detriment,” Dover stated.

A spokeswoman for Seminole County declined to comment on the issue because in the pending litigation.

Shanks, a state legislator, stated that the Internet cafes started appearing in dozens of states about five years ago and had been growing ever since.

His advice to any state considering sweepstakes regulation was to make the laws on sweepstakes and Internet cafes clear. “If your going to keep them then regulate them, thats what we’re trying to do in Florida”

Shanks tried to get legislation passed in the 2011 session that would have regulated the sweepstakes games at Internet cafes, but it failed to get out of committee. Now, he said, he has more support, and a bill to regulate the games has been filed for the 2012 Florida session. Casey Rooks is a spokesperson for Internet Sweepstakes Network and can be reached at 1-877-946-2233 or follow him at #ISNsweepstakes on Twitter.



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