Sheriff: Gaming machines out of Greene

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 19, 2004

Any establishments in Greene County featuring gaming machines other than bingo and without a bingo gaming license are doing so illegally, said Greene County Sheriff Johnny Isaac.

As of Friday all known arcades in the county (including one in Forkland and one near GreeneTrack) no longer featured gaming machines, he said. The sheriff will continue to monitor to make sure the machines are not in operation.

The county volunteer fire department association, in conjunction with a number of other charities, has the only legal gaming license in county for bingo. They have contracted with GreeneTrack to run bingo.

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“I’m serious about it,” the sheriff said this week. “They (other gaming machines) are illegal.”

Isaac said he is not cracking down on other machines to promote bingo. Gaming machines had continued to operate in Greene County while many were removed in Marengo County last year. Only a few still operated in Linden last year, but licenses were not renewed this year.

At any time machines could be confiscated, the sheriff said. No establishment will be exempt from action. Isaac had warned GreeneTrack to remove their other gaming machines, which they did.

Under the bingo law passed last year by the voters of Greene County, the sheriff is sole proprietor of bingo gaming. “They couldn’t get the law passed (in the legislature) unless the sheriff regulated,” he said.

Isaac released the official county bingo regulations this week to the media.

Records, receipts and accounts of the holder of the bingo license must be open to the sheriff during gaming hours or reasonable business hours. The license holder must file a copy of all records and accounts of the previous year each April.

According to the regulations, “a license holder may hold only one license, and that license shall be valid for only one location in Greene County.”

No person under the age of 19 is permitted to play bingo.

Prizes cannot exceed $10,000 in cash or gifts per session. “A license holder shall not be limited in the number of bingo sessions it operates during any 24-hour-period.”