Country Crossing Reopens As Center Stage

The former Country Crossing entertainment complex in Dothan, Ala., reopened July 1 as Center Stage Alabama with new operators but a slightly familiar scenario.

A Center Stage official reportedly told the Dothan Eagle the more than 500 new electronic bingo machines are “traditional paperless bingo,” not the illegal electronic bingo machines that previously led to the demise of the facility.

Local attorney Sam Cherry, who’s been working with Center Stage officials on the gaming end, said the machines comply with state requirements.

“This is legal bingo, that is compliant with the Cornerstone Supreme Court decision that defines bingo in Alabama,” Cherry told the paper June 30. “These are tabletop electronic terminals, with no bells and whistles. We wanted to take every precaution.”

Attorney General Luther Strange isn’t taking anyone’s word for it.

“The Alabama attorney general’s office has had numerous conversations with legal counsel to Center Stage on its potential reopening with new gaming machines, during which time we have reiterated our position on the type of gaming activity allowable in Houston County,” Strange said.

Under state law, the only legal bingo game is the traditional version using cards and announcing numbers one by one.

Two restaurants, John Anderson Cafeteria and A. D-licious Barbecue, also opened.

Meanwhile, disgraced developer Ronnie Gilley continues testifying for the prosecution under a plea deal in the ongoing corruption and bribery trial of Gilley, current and former legislators and VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor. Each is accused of trying to bribe legislators to back a bill that would make electronic bingo machines legal in the state.