MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - A Morgan County entertainment venue might be forced to shut down because of a civil lawsuit filed by the Attorney General Steve Marshall. That suit alleges there are casino facilities spread across five counties that are operating illegal slot machines, or so called "electronic bingo," in defiance of state law.
Marshall said River City Entertainment is one of those breaking the law by allowing illegal gambling with the game of bingo playing on electronic devices. The building was filled with about 60 machines where you could bet anywhere from a quarter to a $1.50.
You play by paying for a pin number voucher and choosing a game, entering the code, making a bet and seeing if the images match up. Win or lose, you'll keep the same number, and that's how you'll get money back or play another day.
"If I didn't win, I probably wouldn't come back," said Brian Robinson a guest at River City Entertainment.
The business license expired on Sept. 30, 2017. River City Entertainment opened at the beginning of June and there is no business sign outside. It also reads that they can have 20 vending machines.
An employee described their entertainment as video games and that it wasn't gambling. She shrugged when asked if it could be called gambling.
"Things will spin and you try to line it up, three of anything, you try and line it up. It's basically like a real casino, but you know the point is it's not a real casino. It's a game and you play it hoping you'll have a good time and win," Robinson said.
They also only allow people 21 and older to play.
They also offer snacks and drinks, plus smoking is permitted.
"So if you don't want to gamble then don't come in here. I mean if you want to gamble then, I don't really want to say gamble, so if you want to come in and play the game, come on in. They are here at 10 o'clock in the morning ready for business. You know, it's just a good time. I really enjoy it and I'm not going to take nothing away from the people. I just like it," Robinson said.
People playing said it gives them something to do and they'd rather come here than drive to Tunica.
"I just enjoy it and I'm glad it's here. I hope they keep it, but if they don't well, hey, it was fun while it lasted," Robinson said when he learned about the lawsuit.
Marshall said the courts of the state have repeatedly determined that the game of bingo cannot be played on electronic devices and slot machines are illegal in the state.
A hearing for this civil lawsuit has not been set yet.
In Greene County, there is a nonprofit bingo facility that's being sued. In Lowndes County, two entertainment facilities are being targeted. In Macon County, Victoryland Casino is being sued. In Houston County, Center Stage bingo is being sued.
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