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Jefferson County Takes a Stand: Electronic Bingo Halls Face Closure

Jefferson County Takes a Stand: Electronic Bingo Halls Face Closure

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has initiated the process of closing down numerous electronic bingo halls throughout the county, starting this week. While many of these bingo halls appear abandoned, some continue to operate despite the enforcement actions. We interviewed one owner situated just north of Tarrant, who expressed surprise at the county’s decision and indicated their intention to remain open until forced to close.

County Commissioner Takes a Stand

County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens has firmly stated, “I can assure you we will not issue any more bingo licenses or bingo permits.” He believes that these establishments introduce various issues into local communities and has received numerous complaints over the years. Stephens shared a concerning incident: “I received a telephone call from a constituent who was actually talking about a prostitute walking down the road and crossing through her yard from a bingo operation just south of Bessemer. So let’s hope and let’s pray that this does make a difference and it is just the beginning of the end.”

Legal Scrutiny and Law Enforcement Efforts

The issue has also drawn the attention of the attorney general, who, back in April, collaborated with several law enforcement entities to shut down 14 different bingo and alleged gambling operations in Jefferson County. Many of these businesses are currently entangled in legal proceedings. Commissioner Stephens now anticipates that, with expired business licenses, the sheriff’s office will take a more proactive role in addressing the issue.

Stephens emphasized, “There has been constant contact with the AG’s office, and one of our pleas to the sheriff to get his cooperation is to keep the attorney general down in Montgomery and let us enforce our own laws.”

The Sheriff’s Office issued a statement on Monday, confirming the county commission’s decision: “The Jefferson County Commission voted that electronic bingo facilities with business licenses that expired on September 30, 2023, will not be renewed. That means as of October 1st, we are following the directive of the county commission to make sure those facilities are in compliance with the law.”

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