After fighting the issue for years, Alabama now has casino slot style gaming. Although these are classified “Electronic Bingo Parlors” make no bones about it, these are casinos filled with slot machines. The only difference? Instead of just inserting your money, pushing a button or pulling the handle then watching the wheels spin, you get to select a bingo card and based on certain “bingo’s” you win. This act alone, allows you to participate in the potential outcome of that particular spin on the wheel. Thus, according to the casino owners, it is no longer just a game of chance.
The Poarch Creek Indians got the wheels spinning opening the initial casino in Wetumpka, Alabama to the dismay of the locals. However, their attitudes have changed a little since many of the locals have been hired to work in the casino, plus the additional traffic brought into the area has increased revenue for other local business. The Riverside Casino in Wetumpka just completed an addition to the facility and now offers up nearly a thousand machines, affordable buffet, and a large screen bar area where you can watch sporting events.
Along with the Riverside Casino, the Poarch Creek Indians operate the Tallapoosa Casino located along the Tallapoosa River just outside Montgomery, Alabama and are about to complete the upgrade to their Atmore, Alabama facility with the Windcreek Casino and Hotel. According to the PCI, the Windcreek Casino and Hotel will be a full-blown a first class operation. Fine dining, thousands of machines, lodging and entertainment. The Windcreek Casino and Hotel is scheduled for a January 2009 opening.
Not to be outdone and for a fight for survival, the area dog tracks have gotten into the action. Both Greene and Macon counties voted to change their constitutions to allow for “Electronic Bingo” for the much beleaguered dog tracks that were in jeopardy of shutting down.
Greenetrack located off Interstate 59/20 neat Eutaw, Alabama has just over 1500 machines and should you get tired of playing the machines, you can head upstairs and bet on the greyhound races that occur every evening.
The big dog in the state is Victoryland. Located on Interstate 85, twenty miles east of Montgomery, Alabama, is nearing completion of its fourth expansion. Currently nearly 5000 machines are available for play, Victoryland is closest you will come to the casino gambling experience outside the Mississippi Gulf Coast or Tunica. The facilities at Victoryland are first-rate. The Oasis Buffet serves up a decent variety of food, from southern fried chicken to crab claws and the recently opened Race and Sports Book Entertainment Center provides you with the ability to bet on the on-site greyhound races, or pari-mutuel wagering for over forty tracks across the country. Want to watch sporting events, take your pick with 7 large projection and 38 plasma screens you can sit in comfort order up a beverage, sandwich and watch current events.
There you have it, casino gaming in Alabama, maybe sometime soon, they will be offering table games, but for now if slots are your passion then there is plenty to choose.
Murray Edwards is a freelance photojournalist covering the Southern United States.
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