JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A large number of electronic bingo facilities plan to open Friday at six o'clock.
The owner of Mr. T's Lucky 7 Charity Bingo plans to do so. Michael Tortorici, a long time Fairfield businessman recently led efforts to create the Bessemer Cutoff Bingo Alliance, the association of some 14 bingo operators in western Jefferson County. "I had the idea to bring us together. To have strength in numbers. When we do that, we had an opinion people would listen to."Tortorici said
The bingo alliance decided to open after a pair of lower court rulings; one ruling limiting the power of Gov. Bob Riley's Illegal Gambling Task Force, the other by Jefferson Co. Circuit Judge Robert Vance saying Attorney General Troy King should takeover that task force.
The bingo operators also questioned why GreeneTrack and Victoryland can do business without being shut down by authorities. "We feel it's our obligation to operate in the same way they are operating. To put our people back to work. We got some 600 people out of work," Tortorici said.
In Fairfield, City Attorney Michael Trucks says it is critical to get the bingo halls open again for the city's finances. "Those elected officials are having to operate a city carrying a ten million dollar budget with a four million dollar deficit," Trucks said.
Bessemer District Attorney Arthur Green says the bingo operators are taking a risk, but after those court rulings, he cannot say he will move to shut them down at least at this time.