JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) – The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department has issued a statement that should cause worry for e-bingo hall operators in Jefferson County.
The statement appears to be a warning to operators to shut down. It reads:
They will be opening at their own peril. The State Attorney General has made it clear on his stance in his warning to the companies that lease these machines. Enforcement action should be taken by their local police who take an oath to uphold state law.
We certainly can't talk strategy or timing. We will let our enforcement action speak for itself. I think they are smart enough to interpret that.
This comes the day after Sheriff Mike Hale was removed from a court order barring him from taking action against bingo halls in Jefferson County. The original court order allowed for the bingo halls to reopen in the Bessemer Cutoff in Fairfield as long as Greenetrack in Greene County was still operating e-bingo.
There were indications that Magic City Bingo in Midfield, a bingo parlor off of the Bessemer Superhighway, would open Friday. However, an employee told a line of about 20 people around 12:30 p.m. that they would not be opening that day.
Midfield Mayor Gary Richardson says the bingo hall will eventually open. Richardson says employees are still setting up the machines and all the machines still have to be inspected by the Midfield Police Chief. The inspection of the machines is expected to be done sometime on Friday afternoon.
Mayor Richardson adds that he believes the Magic City Bingo machines to be legal.
The Anchor Club in Brighton received the distinction of being the first bingo hall open in Jefferson County after Judge Verin's order. A patron leaving the club remarked that he did not like the new machines and added "they are not like slot machines."