New bingo facility in White Hall to close immediately

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

WHITE HALL, AL (WSFA) - Just over a month after opening in the Lowndes County town of White Hall, Southern Star Entertainment Center management says the new paper bingo facility will close immediately. The closure will also affect the facility's restaurant.

The closure will put 28 people out of work in a county that is already struggling with an unemployement rate of nearly 16 percent.

The traditional paper bingo facility opened right across the street from the now closed White Hall Gaming Center, which was the first electronic bingo center to be raided and shut down in the Task Force on Illegal Gambling's attempt to end what Governor Bob Riley calls an illegal practice.

"We deeply regret it was necessary to lay off our hard working employees," said General Manager Leslie Clark in a statement released to the media. "We are simply unable to compete against Native American facilities when we are limited to conducting only paper bingo operations."

Southern Star Entertainment, owned by a Nevada company, originally planned to showcase electronic bingo, but after the Task Force successfully raided several similar operations the facility went back to the drawing board and scrapped any sign of electronic machines.

The facility said when it opened that it would donate a portion of its proceeds to a local charity, the White Hall Enrichment Advancement Team, or WHEAT, but it was not immediately known how much was donated to the charity in the month-long operation of Southern Star.

Clark said he was hopeful the "political environment will change next year and the people of Alabama will be given the opportunity to cast their vote regarding electronic bingo machines."

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