Bingo machines spreading in Jefferson County

Electronic bingo machines spreading in JeffCo

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - There is growing concern about the spread of electronic gambling in Jefferson County. Two charitable bingo halls have opened in Brighton.

Graysville has approved bingo gaming. The Lowe’s in Graysville shut it’s doors in January. That was a loss of $500,000 for the city. Now Mayor Julio Davis said someone wants to turn the building into a charitable electronic gaming hall.

“This would be, number they gave me is 3,000 machines. Paying us $300,000 a month. That would be a tremendous help to our city,” Davis said.

Mayor Davis says four people have received bingo permits. This includes Bruce Pettway, who the mayor said is the brother of Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway.

On Thursday, a representative of the Attorney General’s office contacted Davis. “He wants to see who all bought business licenses for bingo. So I sent him that information. He wanted a copy of our ordinance so I sent it down,” Davis said.

Davis says Sheriff Pettway informed him he would not enforce the e-bingo law.

The Sheriff’s office released this statement earlier this month: “Sheriff Mark Pettway remains committed to safe communities and using the resources of the Jefferson County Sheriff Office to combat violent crime and illegal drug traffic while also increasing the presence of law enforcement in all neighborhoods.”

Attorney General Steve Marshall sent Sheriff Pettway a letter on March 11th saying: “Your role in the county is to enforce the law - it’s the court’s role to interpret it,” Marshall wrote.

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens met with Pettway Thursday about the spread of illegal electronic gambling. “State law says bingo is a game that is played on paper against people in the room. That is not what we see in Jefferson,” Stephens said.

WBRC FOX6 News has reached out to Sheriff Pettway and his Brother Bruce Pettway. We have yet to hear from them.

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