By Ashley Nix
WALKER COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Dozens of gaming machines were seized out of 5 locations in Walker County on Thursday. Walker County Sheriff John Mark Tirey is describing this as a covert and hidden operation. It is the result of a lengthy undercover investigation.
50 machines were taken from one location, where illegal electronic gaming machines line the walls in every room. One sign inside tells patron the max payout is $3500.
As authorities told everyone to leave, one woman told us about what she felt was going on inside. "We was having an old lady's convention in there...and we seem to have got it broken up," the patron told FOX 6. "It's a bingo convention, all the old girls go. I'm retired and I'm old enough to do what I want to."
Walker County and state authorities, including the ABI and ABC Board didn't agree, as they rolled out machines one by one. "Undercover agents have gone in these locations and played on machines where were executing these search warrants," Sheriff Tirey said.
At another location, some 30 machines hauled out. Tirey says complaints and tips come into his office everyday about these types of operations and his deputies have no chance in the matter. "We work murders, thefts, robberies, burglaries," Tirey said. "These are misdemeanor crimes and very labor intensive, but nonetheless they're a violation of the law."
Tirey also feels these small pop-up operations are direct results of big bingo halls shut down, because of a court ruling in Walker County. "That was here, big money involved, and these are certainly, in our opinion, spin offs," Tirey said.
The patron FOX 6 spoke to says she will take her time and money elsewhere. "I'm going to Vegas next week and Mississippi after. I don't have to live here."
The machines will be stored and preserved for evidence.
Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.