Legal fight brewing of bingo in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Two attorneys are seeking help from a judge to stop Jefferson County's district attorney from closing bingo halls in Birmingham.

Attorneys Erskine Mathis and Earl Hilliard are seeking a temporary restraining order against District Attorney Brandon Falls, who last week ordered bingo halls in Birmingham to remove electronic bingo machines.

Mathis says removing the machines could force the bingo halls to close, which would be bad news for charities.

"It's a bad time," Mathis said. "If flush time people give to charities. In bad times we don't. Without bingo provided a lot will fail."

Falls said he expected some of the bingo halls would try a last minute legal delay. He says all of the money from electronic bingo is not going to charities and bingo operations are not following the law.

"If they can still make a profit they would want to continue to another round of litigation," Falls said. "If those places are open after ten days, we will go forward and shut down the operation and file criminal charges those operating the games."

Mathis said he hopes a court stops Falls.  If not, he said he still plans a court challenge.

"We may have to take a forced vacation until we get a judge to rule on this," Mathis said. "I feel ultimatley we are going to win."