Wiregrass Newsroom: Houston County Updates Bingo Laws

By Daniel Curtis - bio | email

Dothan, Ala. (WSFA) - Houston County commissioners voted Monday morning on new stricter laws, and imposing county fees on electronic bingo machines.

That means the county could stand to make big bucks with the opening of Country Crossings, a multi-million dollar Branson-like entertainment venue.

In a unanimous move the Houston County Commission approved a 17 page resolution of updated bingo rules during Monday's commission meeting.

There are three major changes in the current bingo rules.  First, rules are now stricter, closing potential loop holes in the law.  Second, bingo has to be tied to an economic development with a minimum investment of $200 million dollars, and third all electronic bingo machines must carry a $1000 dollar annual stamp.

"We need that economic stimulus right now, but we don't want it everywhere and this is just additional attempts to make it more difficult to operate," said Mark Culver, Houston County Commission Chairman.

The county commission says money generated from the stamps would be put in the general fund and used for one of a kind and special projects.

Current plans for Country Crossings call for 1500 bingo machines, which mean $1.5 million dollars in revenue.

The county commission says these changes were strictly their decision.

"We've got regulations on any development even the one coming here has to meet those regulations," said Culver.

Culver said the county modeled these changes off laws in Etowah and Walker County.