Bingo gaming seemingly in ‘strange’ hands


Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison

Attorney General-Elect Luther Strange
Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison met with Attorney General-Elect Luther Strange recently to discuss law enforcement issues including electronic bingo gaming.
The Alabama Attorney General-Elect maintains that the electronic bingo machine is an illegal slot machine, according to Sheriff Benison. Strange indicated that he is waiting on a definitive ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court regarding the Cornerstone Community Outreach case still pending. Cornerstone is a non-profit organization that owned and operated the White Hall Entertainment Center in Lowndes County before the bingo gaming operation was raided and closed by Governor Bob Riley’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling on March 19, 2009.
Benison said that he pointed out to Strange that Greene County is the only area in the state that has a constitutional amendment authorizing electronic bingo. “The Greene County situation is unique. The people voted; the Amendment passed and a constitutional amendment is the highest people-made law in the nation,” Benison emphasized. Strange reportedly noted that Greene County was reading too much into that Amendment.
According to Benison, the Attorney General-Elect cautioned that although the Task Force on Illegal Gambling instituted by Governor Bob Riley is disbanded, his office once again has control of bingo and he intends to use it.
Sheriff Benison asserted that he is very determined to stand with his community. He said that seemingly the status of electronic bingo gaming in Greene County remains the same since the Task Force raid at Greenetrack in June 2010.
“This is a sad time for our unemployed citizens. I will diligently work every avenue to bring relief and resolution to the people of Greene County in regards to the legal Bingo Amendment #743 voted into law by citizens of Greene County.
“I believe bingo gaming is legal in Greene County. I will do everything I can to see that jobs come back to Greene County,” pledged Benison.

Editor’s Note

The Democrats’ research revealed that the Alabama Constitution has been amended time and time again, both on a state-wide level and a local level. It is ‘strange’ to us that this one particular bingo amendment, which was duly passed by the Alabama Legislature and voted upon by the citizens of Greene County, has been singled out and disregarded when the hundreds of amendments previously passed were not challenged.

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