Alabama gambling machines to be destroyed November 26, 2012 at 7:00 pm Phillip Rawls, ASSOCIATED PRESS MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – A judge ruled Monday that the state attorney general can destroy gambling machines seized in Alabama’s first casino raid in 2009, but he stopped short of putting a “slot machine” label on them that could cause problems for their manufacturers in other states. Circuit Judge Bob Vance issued his ruling after four gambling machine makers said they no longer wanted the gadgets seized from White Hall Entertainment Center in Lowndes County on March 19, 2009. Former Gov. Bob Riley’s gambling task force seized the machines in its first casino raid before cracking down on similar electronic bingo operations at VictoryLand in Shorter and Country Crossing in Dothan. The casinos advertised their machines as legal “electronic bingo,” but Riley and state Attorney General Luther Strange said they were illegal. Strange had wanted the judge to order the devices destroyed and to rule that they were illegal slot machines. The manufacturers – American Gaming Systems, Eclipse Gaming, Bally Gaming and Nova Gaming – only wanted to forfeit the machines without having a ruling on their legality. The manufacturers said in court filings that a legality ruling could hurt their operations in other places and could cause regulatory boards in other states to punish them for operating illegal games in Alabama. Vance referred to the machines in his order as “gambling devices,” not slot machines. He said there was no longer a controversy for him to decide after the makers agreed to drop their ownership interests and let the attorney general destroy them. “The court will not concern itself with the nuances of this final order, or about the consequences in other proceedings that may be pending in other jurisdictions,” Vance wrote. Will Somerville, an attorney for Bally and Nova, said immediately after the ruling that he thought his clients would be satisfied. The attorney general said the ruling was a significant step toward ending illegal gambling in Alabama. “The slot machine manufacturers’ willingness to consent to this forfeiture judgment should end this controversy once and for all, not only in Lowndes County, but throughout the state,” Strange said. Alabama’s gambling task force seized more than 100 machines during the raid. One manufacturer, Multimedia Games Inc., agreed in August to let its 65 machines be destroyed. The attorney general earlier got the casino’s operators to drop their claim to nearly $550,000 in cash seized during the raid. That money went to the state’s General Fund to help operate state government. White Hall Entertainment Center, located 20 miles west of Montgomery on U.S. 80, remains closed. VictoryLand no longer has electronic gambling, but offers simulcast dog and horse races. Country Crossing reopened last year under a new name, Center Stage, but the attorney general’s office raided it in July, seizing 400 gambling machines and $283,000 in cash. Vance, a Democratic judge in Birmingham, was assigned to the White Hall case long before he entered the race for chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, which he lost to Republican Roy Moore on Nov. 6. Three casinos operated by the Poarch Creek Indians remain open in Atmore, Wetumpka and Montgomery. They have not been part of the legal battle in Alabama because they are under federal supervision rather than state supervision. Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.