Bingo blog sites, so often limited to writing about community and fun and frivolity, don’t often have cause to use the word ‘scandal’. But on the best online bingo forums everywhere, players are chatting about one of the biggest controversies to hit the bingo world – the Alabama bingo scandal.
Late last year a group of eleven people including four state senators, two casino owners and lobbyists were arrested on suspicion of being part of a vote-buying scheme. Victoryland owner Milton McGregor was accused of offering a $1m bribe to a Senator Quinton Ross (R) in exchange for his vote to support an amendment that would allow electronic bingo machines in the state.
Amid claims of racism, voter manipulation, and political corruption, McGregor has been found not guilty of three of his seventeen charges and is due to be retried on the remainder following mistrial verdicts. Federal judge Myron H Thompsons delivered a blistering analysis that claimed the prosecution’s key witnesses Scott Beason (R) and former Rep. Benjamin Lewis of Dothan aimed to derail the gambling referendum in order to suppress the black vote, since blacks also tend to vote Democratic.
Online gambling is a particularly hot topic in the US, but the online bingo community is surprised to learn that this particular game is at the center of such a controversy. Bingo blog contributors and readers are debating whether there is any truth to Thompson’s claims and what this means for the Alabama state. It has resulted in intense scrutiny of all Beason’s actions and there have been calls to remove him from the Senate Rules Committee – though there have been no actions in this regard.
In the meantime, the future of electronic bingo remains in limbo, forgotten in the wake of all the scandal. Only time will tell if the game will have its day in court.