Country Crossing In Legal Limbo

The Country Crossing entertainment complex in Dothan, Ala., remained closed Feb. 8 after the state’s anti-gambling task force’s attempts to seize allegedly illegal bingo machines at the facility forced officials to shutter Jan. 29.

“Because of recent threats from the governor’s task force, Country Crossing has closed its doors to protect its employees and patrons,” according to a message on the facility’s Web site. “We are working diligently to solve the issue once and for all and will release more information as we move forward.”

Hundreds of employees have reportedly filed for unemployment as a result of the feud involving complex developer Ronnie Gilley and the Houston Economic Development Association and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley.

The dispute regarding what’s considered a legal electronic bingo game or an illegal slot machine has yet to be settled between the parties.

Meanwhile, Houston County Commission officials reportedly updated local bingo policies to be sure they comply with state law, according to the Dothan Eagle.

“It makes our rules more stringent based on what the Supreme Court has ruled. We continue to try to do everything to be within the law … but the Supreme Court keeps rewriting the law,” commission chairman Mark Culver told the paper.

“This is not a major change. We have felt like and continue to feel like everything there [at Country Crossing] is legal. No courts have ruled they are illegal.”

The Eagle also reported a New Jersey independent gaming lab certified that Country Crossing’s 1,700 bingo machines are in compliance prior to the complex’s grand opening Dec. 1.