Published Tuesday, February 19, 2013
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – The state moved Tuesday to shut down four casinos it maintains are operating illegally in Alabama, filing suit to close three Indian gaming centers and seizing machines and cash from VictoryLand.
Attorney General Luther Strange's office filed suit against the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to close their casinos in Atmore, Montgomery and Wetumpka.
State troopers, meanwhile, served a search warrant with the aim of closing VictoryLand, located in Shorter in Macon County.
A statement from Strange said VictoryLand was operating in "open defiance" of laws against gambling.
"From my first day in office, I have worked to ensure that illegal gambling laws are enforced consistently across the state," Strange said in a statement.
The office of VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor had no immediate comment. Officials with the Poarch Band didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.
The moves were the latest in the state's long-running effort to shut down what it contends are illegal gaming operations.
Both the tribal group and VictoryLand operators have contended their machines are legal.
The lawsuit over the Poach Band casinos, filed in Elmore County, asked a court to stop the use of illegal slot machines at the group's Wind Creek Casino in Atmore; the Creek Casino in Montgomery; and the Creek Casino in Wetumpka.
Federal law doesn't allow state police to enforce state law on Indian lands, but the lawsuit said the Poarch Band cannot operate slot machines or lotteries that are illegal everywhere else in Alabama.
State troopers blocked the entrance to VictoryLand, which was closed but reopened in December after federal jurors last year acquitted McGregor and others in an alleged Statehouse bribery scheme. Strange said officer seized several hundred gambling machines and case.
The state will ask a Macon County court to make the owners forfeit the machines and money to the state, Strange's office said.
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