State Entitled To Enjoin Operation of Electronic Bingo Machines

State of Alabama v. Epic Tech, LLC, et al., [Ms. 1200798, Sep. 30, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2022); State of Alabama v. White Hall Enrichment, etc., et al., [Ms. 1210064, Sep. 30, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2022); White Hall Entertainment, et al. v. State of Alabama, [Ms. 1210122, Sep. 30, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2022).

In the latest of a series of cases involving operations of electronic bingo machines in Macon and Lowndes counties, the Court unanimously (Shaw, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Wise, Bryan, Sellers, Mendheim, Stewart, and Mitchell, JJ., concur) reverses the denial of preliminary injunctive relief sought by the State:

The record in each case before us establishes that the State introduced evidence supporting the conclusion that it had a reasonable likelihood of success or should have prevailed on the merits of its claims that the electronic gaming machines in operation in the Macon County facility and the Lowndes County facilities do not constitute the legal game of bingo. The State’s evidence, including testimony and recordings from agents demonstrating the play of those gaming machines, established that the machines are substantially similar to slot machines and do not offer the game traditionally known as bingo, based on the short duration of play, the absence of numbered cards requiring player interaction, the automatic nature of the play and ultimate outcome, and the absence of an announcement of a winner upon the game’s conclusion. Cf. [Barber v.] Cornerstone [Cmty. Outreach, Inc.], 42 So. 3d [65], 86-87 [(Ala. 2009)].

Ms. **39-40. The Court further holds that “because ‘electronic bingo’ machines are illegal under Alabama law, they – and enterprises engaging in their use – constitute a public nuisance per se.” Ms. *42. The State would be irreparably harmed in the absence of the relief requested in each case. The defendants have no right to engage in, and, thus, cannot be harmed by being enjoined from continuing in, an illegal enterprise.” Ms. *46 (emphasis in the original).

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