Etowah sheriff responds to supreme court

GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) - Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin says it is his responsibility of issuing a permit for electronic bingo.

Sheriff Entrekin issued the statement Monday evening, hours after the Alabama Supreme Court blocked an effort by him to get a legal ruling on who has the authority to issue permits and regulate electronic bingo in Etowah County.

"The responsibility of issuing a permit for electronic bingo rests with the Sheriff," Sheriff Entrekin said in the statement. "When applications were submitted some question existed as to whether the process to follow was that promulgated by the Commission in its rules or that which was found in local statues enacted by the Legislature."

Sheriff Todd Entrekin had sought a declaratory judgment in 2008 after two groups, Coosa Entertainment Group and CBS Supply, applied for permits to conduct bingo games.

A judge's ruling the following month appeared to clear the way for electronic bingo. The Etowah Baptist Association had sought to intervene in the case to oppose electronic bingo, but was denied. The association appealed the judge's ruling to the Alabama Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that there were no opposing interests in the Etowah County litigation and that meant there was no justiciable controversy. The Supreme Court vacated the judge's ruling.

Sheriff Entrekin said electronic bingo developers both believe the Alabama constitution allows the Etowah County Commission to set the rules, but Sheriff Entrekin said he was not comfortable accepting that and wanted input from the court.

"All I have wanted from the beginning is to ensure that the proper legal process be followed," Sheriff Entrekin said.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.