No Bingo, No Jobs Say Greene County Residents
To the residents of Eutaw in Greene County, Alabama, Bingo is more than just gaming entertainment or an opportunity to connect socially with others – it also generates around $400,000 in revenue every month, not to mention even hundreds of jobs. And now that the Alabama Supreme Court has ruled in favour of litigation proceeding against local electronic gambling machines, residents are fearing for their jobs and for their livelihoods.
Greene County Health President of the board John Zippert is concerned not only for himself and his own, but for the entire community, fearing especially what will become of the local schooling system and hospital. Bingo provides jobs and charitable returns, said Zippert of the controversial ruling, jobs and support for local agencies such as Greene County Schools, the Greene County Sheriff’s office, Fire Department, Greene County Hospital, and even the County Commission.
If Not Bingo, Then What?
The hope, said Zippert, is that the lawsuit will fail. His message to Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and local Governor Kay Ivy is a simple one – in fact, it’s more a question demanding an answer. Since a suit is in actual fact being filed against the people of Greene County, Zippert says he wants to know what Marshall and Ivy plan to provide as an income replacement once Bingo gets taken away from the community.
Local casino owner Luther Winn, who owns and operates Greenetrack Casino in Eutaw, says he isn’t as worried about the future of his own business as what he is about the four local Bingo halls owned by folks not living in the state. These are the people Winn says don’t contribute a cent to the local community chest. And as for his own business, Winn says he’ll keep on fighting the good fight to keep the doors open and to keep creating opportunities and a means to earn an income for all the citizens of Greene County.
The Bigger Picture
Winn also adds that it’s important for the state not only to consider a single aspect of local gaming, but instead, to look at the gaming issue as a whole. What’s needed according to Winn, is the establishment of an official gaming commission able to properly regulate and oversee all of Alabama.
Losing Bingo means losing jobs, say both Winn and Zippert. And since, if passed, the litigation could affect the communities of Greene County, Macon County, and Lowndes County, the threat is much bigger than what anyone could possibly imagine.