Houston County New Bingo Regulations

By: Rayne McKenzie Email
By: Rayne McKenzie Email

The Houston County Commission is working to make sure bringing bingo into the area will be beneficial to residents.

They're proposing additional fees "per bingo machine" to increase revenue for the county. They also want more restrictive legislation to slow down the growth of bingo facilities coming into the county.

Commissioners are proposing the original resolution that was approved in February be changed to better suit the needs of the county. There are three major changes being considered right now, all of which would have an affect on proposed bingo facilities like country crossing.

Chairman of the Houston County Commission Mark Culver said, "All of the information we have is that the project is going to happen, and that is our stand and the commission will be behind the project."

Bingo is a hot topic at the Houston County Commission. Since the proposed country crossing project expressed an interest in bringing charitable bingo to the area, the commission has been working to find a way to grant the request and bring revenue into the county.

Culver said, "By adjusting the bingo regulation once, we project that we would have a $1,000 per machine fee, which would generate substantial money for the county."

In addition to the proposed fee per bingo machine, the commission also wants to limit bingo facilities to those businesses planning to invest at least $200 million in capital to the project.

Culvers said, "We want to tie it to economic development so it has to be a large project to operate."

Many residents have expressed their concerns about bringing bingo into the area, but the commission insists the move will be positive for economic development.

Culver said, "Everyone knows the economic impact this may have. Whether you agree or not, we need that in this community right now, so I am confident that it will move forward."

The new resolution also calls for increased restrictions to be placed on businesses wishing to house bingo machines and requires businesses to apply for permits to run a bingo facility.

The Houston County Commission is modeling many of these changes after a bingo facility in Etewah County, which is located in northern Alabama.

In fact the resolution in Etewah calls for the same $1,000 fee per bingo machine, as well as a minimum of $200 million investment commitment before the facility can be approved.

The proposed changes will be voted on at next Monday's Houston County Commission meeting.


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