Jeffco court hearing to decide sheriff's role in electronic bingo

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A court hearing will soon determine the power of the sheriff to issue a bingo permit and to restrict charity bingo in Jefferson County.
    
Both sides concede the battle over electronic bingo for the most part is over. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday the bingo gaming in the state will be restricted to a formats that favor paper bingo or bingo on a machine that is very close to paper bingo.
             
Those bingo halls that believe they can operate under the new guidelines take issue that Sheriff Mike Hale can restrict bingo gaming to only two days a week.
            
The attorneys who challenged the sheriff's authority say the Supreme Court ruling will shut down bingo halls that are bringing in a lot of money and jobs. Attorney for the bingo halls, Erskine Mathis says, "It means everyone will go back to gambling back to Mississippi."

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Carly Privite will rule on Sheriff Hale's authority to issue permits at a later date.

District Attorney Brandon Falls says he welcomed the Supreme Court ruling and says he does not believe there are any electronic bingo halls operating in the Birmingham division at this time.