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VictoryLand Gambling Order Lifted As Thousands Look For Work

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A Macon County judge who had issued a restraining order against the Task Force on Illegal Gambling, prohibiting the Task Force from raiding VictoryLand, removed the restraining order on Wednesday. The state Supreme Court had refused to change their earlier decision, leaving Circuit Court Judge Tom Young with no choice.

The judge had issued the restraining order at the request of VictoryLand attorneys. The gaming facility employed thousands of Alabama residents who have been looking for jobs since the establishment has been closed down by its owner. The debate has been ongoing as to whether VictoryLand has been breaking Alabama law.

Governor Robert Riley had started the Task Force in an attempt to rid Alabama of all gambling. The establishments that offered electronic bingo machines claim they are in compliance with state law. The Supreme Court has several times ruled in Riley's favor on the issue, but never gave a blanket ruling on the legality of the electronic bingo machines.

VictoryLand was one of the largest employers in Macon County before owners closed the doors in fear of being raided by the Task Force. Now that the restraining order was lifted, Task Force Chief John Tyson Jr. will go back to work. Tyson Jr. says the Task Force will continue to enforce gaming laws in the state, but did not say when a possible raid would come.

"The extend to which Governor Riley and his Task Force have gone to shut down VictoryLand and other entertainment venues has been nothing short of shocking," said a disgruntled Barry Bravel. "I have friends that have lost jobs and can't pay their rent, and for what, a personal vendetta?"

Not all Alabama residents feel the same as Bravel. There are those who believe, like Governor Riley, that the gambling taking place at locations such as VictoryLand and Country Crossings, is illegal. These residents have supported the efforts of Riley and the Task Force.

Overall approval numbers, however, show that the majority of Alabamians are unhappy with the job Riley has done. The upcoming election to replace the governor is showing how important the issue is to residents in the state.

Gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks has made it a point to express his pro-gambling stance. If Sparks wins in November, the residents will have sent a clear message to the state legislature about the bingo machines.

In the meantime, the governor and the Task Force chalked up another victory on Wednesday when Judge Young lifted the restraining order. Although Tyson Jr. gave no time frame, it has become evident that any moves the Task Force wishes to make should come before the November election.

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