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Triana VFW Bingo Continues After Alabama Court Bans Sweepstakes Machines

The Electronic bingo equipment whirred and grinded as usual on Monday, December 4, 2006 at Triana's VFW Charity Bingo Hall. The bingo hall's operators said that the recent ruling handed down by the Alabama Supreme Court would not stop them from doing their usual routine.

The Bingo Hall's 400 electronic bingo machines are not classified as "Sweepstakes Machines" that have been outlawed by the ruling last Friday, December 1, 2006, according to Gary Watkins, whose company G2 is the main supplier of the machines. Sweepstakes machines usually offer players the chance to win a predetermined competition. Watkins provides the example of McDonald's restaurant scratch-off card game. The winning card is already decided and it is up to the customer if he will get it or not.

The Triana Bingo Establishment operates 24 hours, 7 days a week. Their license is held by the VFW, which then uses the profits from the bingo games for their charity works. VFW recently brought a police car for Triana. On Monday afternoons, cars were parked in the gravel lot and about a dozen bingo players' played at the machines. At first glance, the machines look and sound like slot machines, but they also feature small electronic bingo cards.

The winners are paid in cash. Just last year, video gaming parlors sprung up all over Madison County. The very colorful machines, sporting names like Lot-o-Gold and Queen Bee, have been the main feature of a lot of bars and convenience stores in the area. On Monday, Madison County License Director, Mark Craig said that the machines can now be found all over the place and about 45 businesses in the area own at least one video gaming machine.


Thursday, February 22, 2007
Steve Bowen

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