Alabama governor takes aim at slot machine makers

Slot machine makers that provide games to locations in Alabama may have to choose between differing opinions from two of the state’s elected leaders.

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley told several gambling machine manufacturers and suppliers in letters sent this week that some of their games appear illegal and need to be removed. He vowed prosecution to those who don’t comply.

But the state’s attorney general, Troy King, said the governor was mistaken.

King told the Associated Press the governor’s letters read "like a directive from a state gaming commission director who is threatening gambling operations under his control. With all due respect, the governor is not a gambling commissioner and the law does not empower him to act as one."

Most of the letters went to small, little-known gambling equipment providers. But also on the list were Las Vegas-based Bally Technologies and slot machine giant International Game Technology of Reno.

“We believe we are in full compliance with Alabama gaming laws,” said IGT spokesman Ed Rogich. The company provides machines to the Indian casinos and racetracks.

Alabama’s governor wants to crack down on illegal bingo halls that compete with the state’s legally approved Indian casinos and racetrack operations.

Some of the bingo halls might be using old retrofitted slot machines that have been decommissioned by legally licensed casinos. Slot machine makers can’t be held liable for games that have been sold and have changed hands several times.

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