AP News

Lawsuit against Alabama casino and owner settled

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal lawsuit that resulted in a $64 million jury verdict against the VictoryLand casino in Alabama's Macon County and its owner Milton McGregor has been settled.

A joint statement by McGregor's attorney, Joe Espy of Montgomery, and the plaintiffs' lawyer, Steve Heninger of Birmingham, said Wednesday that the two sides had reached an agreement settling all issues and vacating the judgment.

The lawsuit was filed by Lucky Palace and 15 charities against McGregor, VictoryLand and Macon County Sheriff David Warren. It was filed after Warren refused to issue Lucky Palace a license to operate charitable electronic bingo games near VictoryLand at the Shorter exit on Interstate 85.

A federal court jury in May returned the verdict against McGregor and his casino after ruling that they intentionally interfered with Lucky Palace's efforts to build its operation. The jury ruled the sheriff misinterpreted the county's rules for developing additional electronic bingo casinos.

Warren has since been dropped from the lawsuit.

Heninger said a confidentiality agreement was part of the settlement and he couldn't say more than what was in the joint statement. He said he could not say if any sort of payment was part of the settlement.

Warren's attorney, James Anderson of Montgomery, said his client is out of the case and the settlement does not require him to pay any money.

U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins signed an order Wednesday dismissing the lawsuit.

"Our goal was to get this case behind us so everyone's full attention could be focused on bringing jobs and economic opportunities to the good people of Macon County," Heninger and Espy said in the statement.

VictoryLand was the only casino in Macon County and was the largest in the state, with 6,400 electronic games, before being forced to shut down its games in August 2010 as part of then-Gov. Bob Riley's crackdown on what he said were illegal slot machines posing as electronic bingo.

McGregor also closed his luxury hotel and restaurants and ended live dog racing at VictoryLand. It has stayed open with simulcast dog and horse races.

Currently, the Poarch Creek Indians operate electronic bingo casinos in Atmore, Wetumpka and Montgomery.

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