Greenetrack bingo draws crowds and brings back jobs

Players are shown here playing the new electronic bingo machines located on the 3rd floor of Greenetrack.

When Greenetrack, Inc. resumed electronic bingo operations on Friday, March 18, reportedly 25 laid-off employees had been recalled for employment at the facility. Greenetrack CEO, Luther ‘Nat’ Winn stated that since then an additional 15 persons have been rehired across various departments.
Although the electronic bingo operations were scheduled to open by Noon, the Greenetrack parking lot filled long before that time. The line of people waiting to purchase the PIN number used to play the machines snaked throughout the third floor of the facility. People seemed happy that once again they would be able to enjoy electronic bingo without having to travel out of state, and many were curious as to how the new system would work.
The 100 new electronic bingo machines, which resemble laptop computers, require PIN numbers to begin play. Patrons must secure a PIN number issued on a receipt from a designated cashier which also records the initial monetary amount the player is investing at the time. This PIN number is logged into the bingo computer at a player station at which time the player is instructed on how to proceed.
Respective winnings are recorded under the PIN entered in the bingo computer and the patron, after logging out of the machine, may cash in any winnings by producing the initial receipt with PIN number to a cashier.
Prior to resuming electronic bingo, Greenetrack staff was schooled in the operations and supervision of the new gaming machines.
“We are delighted to be expanding the upstairs bingo operations by adding 100 electronic bingo player stations. Hopefully this will allow us to generate money for all of our local charities such as the Greene County Board of Education, volunteer fire departments and the Greene County Hospital and Nursing Home,” stated Winn.
According to Winn, renovations are being done in the downstairs area in preparation for the installation of more electronic bingo machines. “All the bingo machines currently installed at Greenetrack and those to be installed have been tested and certified as legal electronic bingo machines,” said Winn. He emphasized that these machines cannot be construed as slot machines even under the broad test announced by Attorney General Luther Strange.Winn announced that the official opening, with ground floor electronic bingo also in place, is set for the first of April. The increased number of bingo player stations will invariable heighten the employment at the Greenetrack facility as well as accrue financial benefits to local businesses and contributions to institutions and agencies.
Nearly 400 Greenetrack employees lost their jobs when the bingo operations were halted by then Alabama Governor Bob Riley’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling, led by Mobile County District Attorney Mike Tyson in July, 2010. Riley forced this action against the Greenetrack operations despite the fact that Greene County had passed a constitutional amendment legalizing electronic bingo – an amendment which ironically was passed by the Alabama Legislature and signed by Governor Riley in 2004.
The loss of so many jobs in a Black Belt county with little industry and a population of less than 10,000 raised the already inflated unemployment rate and affected local businesses.
The school system, governmental agencies, non-profit and other service and charitable organizations that benefited from contributions from bingo were forced to make budget adjustments. In some cases, such as with E-911 services, staff was downsized; volunteer fire departments were limited in securing equipment and the public library could no longer purchase additional books and materials.
With electronic bingo returning, local employment may rise, businesses may benefit and schools and other agencies may once again receive contributions.
Winn credits the change in political leadership in Montgomery for his decision to reopen.
“During his campaign Governor Robert Bentley promised to allow properly licensed facilities in counties with valid constitutional amendments to reopen. Thank you, Governor Bentley, for helping us put the people of Greene back to work,” said Winn.

Greenetrack employees receive training in operation and supervision of new electronic bingo equipment prior to the initial restart of electronic bingo on Friday, March 18