The Alabama Supreme Court has ordered a Macon County judge to step aside from a case involving the state attorney general's seizure of electronic gambling machines from VictoryLand casino in Shorter.
The court ruled Friday on a request by Attorney General Luther Strange to have Macon County Circuit Judge Tom Young step aside. Young has initially refused to give the attorney general a search warrant for the raid in February, but did so reluctantly after being ordered by the Supreme Court.
The state attorney general's office used a century-old gambling case to get a rare, but not unprecedented, search warrant to raid VictoryLand casino in Shorter.
Macon County Circuit Judge Tom Young initially refused to give the attorney general a search warrant. Attorney General Luther Strange appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court. He cited an 1899 case where a justice of the peace denied an arrest warrant based on an incorrect interpretation of the law, and the Supreme Court ordered it issued.
Gambling operators say the state is overstepping its bounds by trying to shut down four casinos in Alabama.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians says the state lacks the power to shut down its three electronic bingo operations in Atmore, Montgomery and Wetumpka.
The state filed suit Tuesday claiming the gambling centers are illegal.
And an attorney for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor says the state's raid on the east Alabama casino is improper. McGregor lawyer Joe Espy says no court has ever ruled that VictoryLand's machines are illegal.
The chairman of an Alabama Beverage Control board panel says it expects to rule within 15 days on the Victoryland casino's request for a liquor license.
The committee concluded an all-day meeting about 5 p.m. Wednesday and committee chairman, Joe Adams, says it will now review mounds of evidence.
Deputy Attorney General Sonny Reagan urged the committee to deny the casino's application. VictoryLand attorney Joe Espy says the machines have been declared legal bingo machines by Macon County Sheriff David Warren, and the license should be granted.
Alabama's liquor control agency has moved back a hearing to determine if the newly reopened VictoryLand casino in Shorter will get a license to serve liquor.
The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board initially set the hearing for Jan. 23 and then moved it up to Jan. 10 because VictoryLand requested an earlier date. ABC attorney Bob Hill said Friday the hearing has now been moved back to Jan. 23 because all the participants couldn't make the earlier date.
The sheriff of Macon County is planning to inspect new gambling machines being installed in VictoryLand in anticipation of the casino reopening soon.
An attorney for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor said Sheriff David Warren will be at the casino in Shorter on Wednesday afternoon.
VictoryLand was once Alabama's largest casino with more than 6,000 games. It shut down in 2010 under pressure from the governor's gambling task force. The casino maintained that its games were legal electronic bingo, but the task force labeled them illegal slots.