Lowndes County casino closure would be ‘devastating blow’

The fate of two Lowndes County casinos hangs in the balance, along with nearly 100 jobs.

Local elected officials are concerned. In a county with relatively little industry and tourist attractions, casinos gave people jobs, contributed to local charities, and brought in gamblers from the streets and districts.

On the other hand, courts have interpreted Alabama’s murky gambling laws to prohibit the type of games offered in casinos, and Attorney General Steve Marshall called them “a menace to the public health, morals, safety and welfare.”

Lowndes County Commission Chairman Charlie King is one of the officials concerned about the impact of the possible closure of White Hall Entertainment and Southern Star Entertainment.

“It would be a devastating blow,” King said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “You’re talking about 100 jobs, you know. In a county like Lowndes, losing 100 jobs is a pretty big blow.”

It is not yet clear when – or if – the casinos may be forced to close. Attorneys believe the new action in the case has delayed a shutdown that seemed imminent after the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision in late September.

The Alabama Supreme Court dropped the hammer on White Hall, Southern Star and Macon County’s VictoryLand Casino on Sept. 30, ruling unanimously that electronic bingo machines — which players play in much the same way as electronic slots — constitute illegal gambling operations. . The court ordered lower court judges to issue an injunction against the three casinos within 30 days, prohibiting them from operating electronic bingo.

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