VictoryLand Owner Milton McGregor Dies at 78

Photo from miltonmcgregor.com

Alabama News Network has confirmed that VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor died this morning at his home. He was 78 years old.

McGregor was well known throughout our area for VictoryLand in Macon County. He had also owned the Birmingham Race Course. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Patricia Turner McGregor, two daughters and sons-in-law and seven grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements haven’t yet been announced.

A lifelong businessman, McGregor became widely known when in 1983, Macon County citizens voted for a greyhound racing bill to help the county and its school system. That brought the opening of VictoryLand.

Meanwhile, in 1990, horse racing was failing at the Birmingham Race Course. McGregor bought the horse racing track in 1992 for $19 million and added greyhound racing after a major renovation.

In 2009, McGregor added pari-mutuel and Class II charity bingo to VictoryLand as well as a 300-room hotel. VictoryLand became the largest employer in Macon County and the largest payer of sales tax, occupational tax, lodging tax and pari-mutuel tax.

But then-Gov. Bob Riley set out to close VictoryLand, saying its electronic bingo machines were illegal slot machines.  Riley attempted to force the closing of VictoryLand through a raid in early 2010 and through court action. Later, the electronic bingo operation was stopped as McGregor, some lawmakers and lobbyists faced charges involving state gambling legislation.

McGregor was found not guilty, leading the way to the reopening of VictoryLand with hundreds of electronic bingo machines. More recent governors haven’t attempted to force VictoryLand’s closing through either law enforcement operations or the courts. VictoryLand has given millions in proceeds to charity over the years.

Categories: Montgomery Metro, News, Statewide