First on WSFA 12 News: White Hall Gaming Center shuts doors

The doors are closed and locked at White Hall Entertainment Center in Lowndes County.
The doors are closed and locked at White Hall Entertainment Center in Lowndes County.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

WHITE HALL, AL (WSFA) - Employees at White Hall Gaming Center say their future is unclear.

"What did they tell you?  'Nothing.  They didn't say anything,'" says one employee.

WSFA 12 News was the only station there as employees and guests filed out the doors that security officers locked behind them.

Now the question is, how long will they stay locked?

White Hall representatives say they weren't forced to close, but did it on their own.

"We wanted to be proactive rather than reactive," says White Hall Gaming Center Attorney Collins Pettaway.

On Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court sided with the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling lifting a court order blocking a second raid like the one at White Hall Gaming Center in March.

Perhaps more importantly, the ruling defined bingo in Alabama.

Pettaway told WSFA 12 News the company is closing to reconfigure its gaming machines.

"We have technicians coming in and look at and re-tool the way the games are usually played, so that the display--the information--will clearly show that bingo is being played."

Pettaway says once that's done they plan to re-open--hoping the process only takes about two weeks.

But what happens to the more than 100 employees?

"They should be expected to be back at work," he adds.

Still some are skeptical.

"'I'm a single person, and I need my job.  That's it.'  Do you think you'll get it back?  'I hope so,'" says one employee.

"One thing I'll tell ya...I've just had enough and [I'll] have to find another job.  And I hope it don't happen anymore," says another employee.

Pettaway says they'll be in touch with employees as soon as they have a time table for re-opening.

WSFA 12 News also spoke with Lowndes County District Attorney John Andrews.

He feels White Hall Gaming Center is being picked on.

White Hall attorneys are filing an application for the Alabama Supreme Court to review and reconsider their decision.

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