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State auctions, buys former Greenetrack properties

Alabama now owns more than 200 acres that previously belonged to Greenetrack, the former electronic bingo site in Greene County, and were seized by the state.

The Alabama Department of Revenue said Tuesday the properties, which do not include the gaming hall that’s under new management, are now in state inventory after there were “no successful bids” during a public auction Monday.

It’s the latest development in a years-long tax fight between Greenetrack and the state over more than $76 million in taxes. 

Frank Miles, a spokesman for ALDOR, confirmed in an email exchange with Alabama Daily News that the state did purchase the property. 

The public auction was Monday afternoon at the Greene County Courthouse. Miles said no successful bids could mean bids weren’t high enough or they were later retracted.

The minimum required bid price on the parcels was $693,767.05, according to ALDOR.

“The state did purchase the properties, having not been outbid,” Miles said.

According to a public notice prior to the auction, the seven separate parcels total about 212 acres.

Per state law, a taxpayer is allowed a one-year period to redeem property seized and then sold under the seizure procedures. If the property is not redeemed, the state can attempt to sell it in order to pay off the outstanding debt.

Alabama Daily News reported in 2019 that the Alabama Attorney General asked a circuit court to make Greenetrack pay more than $76 million in taxes on revenue from its slot machines.

“It is the opinion of the Attorney General that Greenetrack violated Alabama’s tax laws by not paying any state taxes on its illegal gambling operations,” Attorney General Steve Marshall said at the time.

The Alabama Supreme Court last July agreed and ordered Greenetrack to pay the money.

At the time, Greenetrack CEO Luther Winn said electronic bingo would end at Greenetrack and the site would switch over the operation to historical video horse racing machines instead. In September, the site closed.

Later that month, the Supreme Court ordered three other casinos to halt their electronic bingo operations.

Earlier this year, a new company took over what used to be the Greenetrack gambling facility, WBRC reported. 

On its website, Greene County Entertainment Center advertises gaming machines, though previous news articles have said it would not offer electronic bingo.

Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, on Wednesday told ADN the state has got to take control of the gambling industry within its borders.

“If the state regulated this, we wouldn’t be in this circumstance,” Albritton said.

Albritton for years has proposed legislation to allow a lottery in Alabama and regulate and tax gambling operations. He’s had some success in the Senate, but legislation has died in the House.

“If the state were in control of taxing this, they wouldn’t have owed the tax, we would have been collecting it already,” he said.

A group of House members is now meeting to draft lottery and gambling legislation they’re hopeful the chamber will pass in 2024.


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