Center Stage Agrees to Give Up Some Gambling Devices

Alabama has a lot of loves. Football and God are at the top of the list. However, it cannot be said that Alabama is a friend of gaming. A south Alabama bingo casino recently found that out when the state forced it to agree to give up some of its gaming devices. If the business, Center Stage, had refused to give them up, the state was planning to pursue civil litigation.

Alabama’s Gaming Laws

Gaming LawsAlabama has some of the most restrictive gambling laws in the nation. The state prohibits any type of casino gaming in the state. Alabama has a history of going after businesses it believes are operating illegal casinos. In fact, Alabama waged a long-running court battle to close down a casino it believed was operating illegally. The business swore that it paid people in prizes rather than money. There are no horse racing tracks in the state. There is a greyhound track in Mobile, and it is the only place people can bet in the Yellowhammer State. The state also does not have a lottery. Some counties have electronic bingo parlors, which operate much like slot machines, but the rules are constantly in flux. There are three casinos in Alabama, but they are all operated by Native Americans under federal law.

Center Stage

Center Stage is in Dothan in Houston County. Dothan has a population of about 65,000 people in a county close to the Florida state line. A large military base, Fort Rucker, sits about 20 miles from the town. Center Stage bills itself as an entertainment destination, with both a hotel and an RV park located on the property. At the time of the agreement, Center Stage had several ball table games, which ran much like a roulette game. In addition, Center Stage had more than 100 bingo machines, which ran like slot machines. Because the business ran the bingo machines like slot machines, Alabama’s attorney general said they were illegal under Alabama law. The attorney general said they were just like games of chance. The location also had a bingo parlor with live paper bingo games.

The Agreement

AgreementUnder Center Stage’s agreement with the attorney general’s office, it can stay open. However, it has to get rid of the electronic machines that resemble slot machines. In addition, the attorney general’s office said the other machines the business has there must go. These machines, Center Stage argues, are for entertainment purposes only. The electronic bingo machines the business can alter to meet the requirements of Alabama’s law can stay. The “casino” can also keep the paper bingo games that it offers live throughout the day. In addition, Center Stage can keep its liquor license. It can develop new games, as long as they comply with the laws of Alabama.

Had Center Stage not agreed to settle with the attorney general’s office, the case would have gone to trial this month in the state.

This long-running battle is one of many battles Alabama has been waging with electronic bingo parlors throughout the state. Alabama and Victoryland Casino, which is an electronic bingo parlor, have been battling each other for more than 15 years. At times, the casino has been open, but it has also been closed and filed for bankruptcy multiple times. The state has also challenged two or three other bingo parlors over its classification of electronic bingo games. In each case, the bingo parlors have backed down and agreed to get rid of the offending games. So far, Alabama has been unrelenting in its prohibition of gaming in the state.

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Jean Carter is from Oakland, California and studied jewelry design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, California. After graduation, and pining for a warmer climate, Jean relocated to the Tule Springs suburb of Las Vegas, where she owns and operates her own online jewelry boutique incorporating traditional native American styles with her own unique designs. A true fan of the sophistication and glamor of Las Vegas casino life, Jean is also a freelance blogger specializing in all things suave and fashionable surrounding the casino lifestyle.