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Milton McGregor dead at 78

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama dog track and casino magnate Milton McGregor has died.

McGregor, 78, passed away in his sleep last night, his representatives said. He is survived by Pat McGregor, his wife of 50 years, and their two grown daughters, Kim and Cindy.

The Victoryland owner had a long, indelible impact on Alabama politics. With beginnings in the video arcade business, McGregor would go on to build an empire that included two popular dog and horse racing tracks in Macon and Jefferson Counties. At its peak, Victoryland in Shorter, Alabama generated millions and employed as many as 2,000 people, according to his website.

His catchy slogan, “You can be a winner, too!” became part of the local popular culture in Central Alabama, inviting everyday Alabamians to test their luck at his gambling properties.

His entry into electronic bingo – slot machine lookalikes that were never technically legalized in Alabama – would pit him against the state’s most powerful politicians and even see him tried and acquitted in a federal vote-buying case.

The Hartford native fought hard to legalize electronic bingo statewide and, even when he wasn’t successful, dared law enforcement to shut down his massive Macon County casino complex. His legal feuds with former Gov. Bob Riley and, later, former Attorney General Luther Strange regularly dominated newspaper headlines and nightly news broadcasts.

Friends remember McGregor for his generosity and gregarious personality. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

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