After fighting the issue years ago, Alabama now has slot-style games. Although these are classified as “Electronic Bingo Halls”, they are not forgotten, they are casinos full of slot machines. The only difference? Instead of just inserting your money, pressing a button or pulling the lever and watching the wheels spin, you choose a bingo card and based on certain “bingo’s” you win. Only this act allows you to participate in the potential result of that specific turn on the wheel. Thus, according to the casino owners, it is no longer just a game of chance.
The Poarch Creek Indians spun the wheels around opening the initial casino in Wetumpka, Alabama, to the dismay of residents. However, their attitudes have changed somewhat since many of the locations were hired to work at the casino, in addition to the additional traffic brought to the area, increasing revenue from other local businesses. Riverside Casino in Wetumpka has just completed an addition to the facility and now offers almost a thousand machines, an affordable buffet and a large screen bar area where you can watch sporting events.
Along with 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 facilities in Atmore, Alabama, with the Windcreek Casino and Hotel sports betting sites. According to the PCI, Windcreek Casino and Hotel will be a first class operation. Fine dining, thousands of machines, accommodation and entertainment. The Windcreek Casino and Hotel is scheduled to open in January 2009.
Not to be outdone and for a fight for survival, the dog tracks of the area came into action. Greene and Macon counties voted to change their constitutions to allow “Electronic Bingo” for the much-sought after dog tracks that were in danger of being closed.
The Greenetrack located near Interstate 59/20 in Eutaw, Alabama, has just over 1500 machines and, if you get tired of playing with the machines, you can go up and bet on the greyhound races that take place every night.
The big dog in the state is Victoryland. Located on Interstate 85, twenty miles east of Montgomery, Alabama, it is about to complete its fourth expansion. Currently, almost 5,000 machines are available to play, Victoryland is the closest you will find to the experience of playing in casinos outside the Mississippi Gulf Coast or Tunic. Victoryland’s facilities are first class. The Oasis Buffet serves a decent variety of foods, from southern fried chicken to crab claws, and the newly opened Race and Sports Book Entertainment Center offers the ability to bet on greyhound racing on site or on pari-mutuel bets for more of forty tracks across the country. Want to watch sporting events, take your pick with 7 large projections and 38 plasma screens, where you can sit comfortably and order a drink, sandwich and watch current events.
There you are, casino games in Alabama, maybe soon they will offer table games, but for now, if slot machines are your passion, then there is plenty to choose from.
Murray Edwards is a freelance photojournalist covering the southern United States.