Greene Co. Sheriff, Bingo Halls respond to Gambling lawsuit - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Greene Co. Sheriff, Bingo Halls respond to Gambling lawsuit

Source: WBRC Source: WBRC

Alabama’s Attorney General is cracking down on illegal gambling, but at the expense of who? 

Green Charity Bingo employs at least 40 people and stays busy most of the time.

The non-profit group that runs the hall explains several families depend on this income.

“Leave these people alone,” said Greensboro resident  Richard Brooks.

His reaction to the lawsuit against Green Charity Bingo and the other bingo parlors in Greene County is similar to quite a few.

“A lot of people come out here to have fun and to get away from home the problems they have,” said Willie Knight who lives in Birmingham.

Attorney General Steve Marshall said operating slot machines as so-called electronic bingo defies state law, but many still don’t get why closing the halls is necessary.

“I don’t see where they are hurting anybody, I don’t see them robbing anybody,” said Brooks.

In fact, the Center for Rural Family development’s president Brendan Gaines who runs Green Charity Bingo said they are doing more giving than taking.

“ Money from here has paved a lot of the roads, we donate to the school system, and we also now are donating to the hospital,” said Gaines.

Some of the money made from the Bingo halls supports programs that otherwise wouldn’t be possible to have.

“We don’t have the boys and girls club we don’t have the YMCAs,” said Gaines. 

Gaines is confused on why the state is suing them when amendment 743, he said allows them to have electronic bingo machines in Greene County.

“It’s our constitutional right to operate and that’s what we plan to do, we are going to fight it,” said Gaines.

Sheriff Jonathan Benison is also listed in the lawsuit. He said he stands by the voters who approved that amendment despite the Attorney General’s opinion.

See the rest of the sheriff’s statement here:

First of all as Sheriff of Greene County I would like to clarify and say that we do not operate as  casinos, never tried to portray ourselves as such.  We are approved, legalized electronic bingo facilities.  This is legal because we the citizens of Greene County voted overwhelmingly for Amendment 743 to have such.

 We have been operating and providing jobs and funding for Greene County through this Amendment.  I don’t know about the other counties filed in the lawsuit but as for Greene county, even the shortest closure of our Electronic Bingo facilities will result in a devastating economic downfall for our county.  We don’t have big industries or factories that our county runs off of; electronic Bingo is our livelihood.

Thousands will be affected because so many are direct recipients of funds made through electronic bingo, such as, Greene County Board of Education,  Greene County Commission, Greene County Hospital, Greene County Nursing Home, Firefighters Association, E-911, City of Eutaw, City of Forkland, City of Union, City of Boligee, Greene County Sheriff’s Office and not to mention 16 sub charities that are incorporated to make sure everyone is provided with help.  This is all of our youth, senior citizens, our law enforcement.

These are the hundreds of employees that each one of the facilities employs.  What are they to do if they lose their job?  I am shocked about this news, but we are willing to do whatever is necessary to make sure that our vote for Amendment 743 was not done in vain.

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