Electronic bingo battle continues in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The fight for legalizing electronic bingo gaming lives on in Birmingham.

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday rejected a new electronic bingo ordinance in favor of paper bingo, but council members have not given up on gaming in the city.

"Bingo is the thing whose time has come," said Council President Carole Smitherman. "We need to be ready for it. As the largest venue, the largest city we are missing too much revenue."

Smitherman wants Jefferson County lawmakers in the next legislative session to approve of a constitutional amendment, making electronic bingo legal in the county, but not all county officials like the idea.

"I'm opposed to electronic bingo," Bettye Fine Collins, Commission President said. "These things are blight on other businesses and other business establishments."

Commissioner Jim Carns agreed.

"I will fight that," Carns said. "I'm against gambling. 16 years in the legislature I fought gambling. I don't want it in Jefferson County. I don't want it in the state."

Other county commissioners believe when it comes to electronic bingo, the issue should not be decided by one county.

"We need to take it out of the hands of local government," said William Bell, Jefferson Co. Commissioner.  "That way it will have uniformity throughout the county or the state for that matter."

"This needs to be statewide," said Bobby  Humphryes, Jefferson  Co. Commissioner. "We either have an amendment for or against this. This is one county at a time doing this is ridiculous."

Smitherman and other council members say they still plan to lobby county lawmakers to support legalizing electronic bingo gaming for the county.