White Hall center closes for upgrades

Published 12:37 am Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WHITE HALL — The spinners on the machines at White Hall Entertainment Center have stopped. The doors are closed indefinitely.

The Center’s attorney, Collins Pettaway, told The Selma Times-Journal Tuesday, the establishment was working on upgrades initiated by the company that leases the machines to the center.

The center has laid off its workers in the meantime.

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“There is no timeline,” Pettaway said.

The move comes just as Gov. Bob Riley’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling vowed to rid the state of what it calls slot machines.

Late Tuesday after hearing of the closure of White Hall and Victoryland in Shorter, John Tyson, the new commander of the task force called on owners of both casinos to allow the media in to ensure “evidence is not being destroyed or tampered with.”

A call to White Hall went unanswered Tuesday afternoon.

The closures also come a day after a federal judge refused to block a raid on the Country Crossing casino in Dothan.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson of Montgomery declined to issue a temporary restraining order against the governor’s task force.

The judge said Country Crossing and the task force should return to state court and the legality of the machines is a state issue.

Country Crossing developer ronnie Gilley said his casino will remain closed for the time being.

White Hall was the first casino raided by the task force last year. At that time, armed lawmen entered the establishment and began carting out machines and money.

At the time, Pettaway contended the governor’s task force did not have the evidence the bingo machines confiscated were illegal.

Pettaway called the search warrants “flawed.”