Alabama Pols, Casino Owner Nabbed in Vast Bribery Bust

Lobbyists also nabbed in big electronic bingo bust
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 4, 2010 12:09 PM CDT
This photo taken Dec 11, 2009 shows developer Ronnie Gilley in front of the electronic bingo pavilion at his Country Crossing entertainment and gambling complex in Dothan, Ala.   (AP)
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(Newser) – Federal officials have indicted the owner of Alabama's largest casino, four state senators and several top lobbyists in a scheme to buy and sell votes to get electronic bingo legalized. The federal investigation found criminal activity that was astonishing in scope, according to the assistant attorney general. He calls it a full-scale campaign to bribe legislators and others. The indictment, with 11 defendants, was released today as FBI agents made arrests at several locations across the state.

VictoryLand casino owner Milton McGregor was among those indicted. His casino, now shut down, has more than 6,000 electronic bingo machines. Also indicted was Country Crossing casino developer Ronnie Gilley. The indictment alleges that State Sen. Larry Means "solicited bribes from McGregor, Gilley ... and others, and, in one specific instance, sought $100,000 in return for voting in favor of the legislation." Of the four state senators indicted, two are Democrats, one a Republican, and another an Independent who was a Republican at the time of the vote.

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