Bingo on county workshop agenda

Published 11:59 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

Chairman Lynn Sasser promised Covington County he would hold a workshop to discuss bingo, and he has made good on that promise.

“Comments on bingo” is one of three items scheduled for discussion in a 9 a.m. workshop Monday one hour prior to the commission meeting. A proposal to manage Pt. A Park and the proposed leasing of the Covington Center Arena are also scheduled for discussion.

Sasser notified media earlier this week a workshop would be scheduled before Monday’s meeting, which has been moved to 10 a.m. He said he hopes to always hold a workshop before each meeting.

Bingo became a hot-button topic in the county as speculation mounted on whether or not the county commission was pursuing electronic gaming as a way to generate revenue for the cash-strapped county.

That speculation came to a halt last week after Sasser said publicly he intends to ask for a motion to prohibit electronic bingo in the county; however, no such line item was listed on an agenda released Friday evening.

An amendment to the state constitution passed in 1994 authorizes the commission to set rules for charitable bingo in the county. Previously, the commission has held discussions with at least two electronic bingo representatives about bringing it into Covington County.

Commissioners were expected to have the proposed bingo rules on their May agenda, but removed them at the last minute. At the time, they said they expected to have rules ready in June. On Fri., June 5, they again said the rules weren’t completed and would not be discussed at the Mon., June 8, meeting. The Star-News, The Opp News and the Covington County Coalition Against Gambling have made requests for copies of the rules but have not yet received them.