Electronic bingo on hold again in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Weeks after passing an ordinance to allow electronic bingo in the city, the Birmingham city council voted Tuesday to delay issuing permits for another eight weeks.

At Tuesday's council meeting, Councilor Valerie Abbott presented a resolution that would halt the issuance indefinitely until the state Supreme Court ruled on the legality of electronic bingo in the state.  That measure failed.  The council then moved forward with public hearings for 15 organizations that had applied for permits.

During the hearings, speakers talked for three minutes, telling councilors why they felt they should be issued a permit.  But at the end of each hearing, Abbott proposed an eight week delay on the vote, to which at least four councilors agreed.  In the end, a vote on each request was delayed.

Abbott said during the eight weeks, the council will try to answer questions about location of the machines and pay out practices.  But Council President Carole Smitherman said she hopes it will take only two weeks to discuss any questions and return a final answer to those wanting a permit.

Council member Joel Montgomery said more meetings on the matter are simply an effort by Abbott to stalemate an issue she is opposed to.  Abbott said she was simply trying to protect the city and taxpayers.