By Alan Collins
JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Despite confusion over control of the Governor's Illegal Gambling Task Force, the Jefferson County District Attorney is warning against new bingo operations in the Birmingham division.
A new Tarrant bingo facility is run by the Community Network Association. The City of Tarrant granted the charity a bingo license last year. The Mayor of Tarrant says it will bring in $600,000 a year to the city. "It got to the point, do I let half of my folks off and cut half of the services to the citizens to Tarrant or do I let bingo open up and try to keep people working," Mayor Loxcil Tuck said.
The Community Network Association believes their machines will comply with the six new guidelines established by the Alabama Supreme Court. This includes forcing a player to play with another person. Some players say they are disappointed in the new machines. "I don't like it. Really, I don't like it. They ain't got everything. They used to have ducks and everything in there," Patricia Ward said.
All bingo facilities in the Birmingham division of Jefferson County had been ordered shut down last October by District Attorney Brandon Falls. Last week, Falls informed the Tarrant Police Department he still considers the machines illegal. "I'd say he will be here tomorrow and bingo would be gone. I thought that," Tuck said
So far, there has been no raid. The Governor's Illegal Gambling Task force has not raided any facility recently. Governor Bob Riley and Attorney General Troy King remain at odds over who should control the task force. Players in Tarrant just hope to have a place to play even if the machines are not as much fun as in the past. "Cause I stay over here. It gives me something to do," Ward said.
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