Many groups could run bingo facility

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 13, 2010

There are more than 15 local nonprofit organizations registered in Covington County that meet the application qualifications for an electronic bingo permit — five of which are located in Florala.

In a listing compiled from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are 141 documented and registered non-profits locally such as charities and private foundations. Also included in that total are numerous civic organizations, education providers, churches and volunteer fire departments.

Under both state law by way of Constitutional Amendment 565, which allows for charitable bingo in Covington County, as well as Florala’s newly adopted electronic bingo ordinance, organizations must not only have been in existence for at least five years but also have owned real property in the county for five years immediately prior to the issuance of the permit or license.

In Florala, the Florala Rescue Squad, the Masonic Lodge, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Florala Historical Society and the Carver National Alumni Association (CNAA) meet the requirements.

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is not listed on the NCCC website nor the IRS Web site as a non-profit organization, but has in the past been issued a charitable bingo permit.

A representative with the Florala Masonic Lodge said Tuesday no one has contacted his group concerning electronic bingo.

And while it is unknown if any of the following organizations have been contacted by electronic bingo representatives, they do appear to meet the necessary requirements for applying for a license:

Opportunity House Inc. in Opp.

Crossover Ministries in Opp.

The Andalusia Kiwanis Club Foundation.

American Legions in the county.

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Posts throughout the county.

Kiwanis Club of Andalusia.

The Mizell Memorial Hospital Foundation in Opp.

Andalusia and Opp Rescue Squads.

Acts of Kindness in Andalusia.

Opp Micolas Mills Education Foundation Inc. in Opp.

Danley Foundation in Opp.

Crisis That Resolves Interactive Behavior Solutions (CRIBS) in Andalusia.

Other Masonic Lodges throughout the county.

local Fraternal Order of Police lodges (included on the Internal Revenue Service website as documented non-profits but not included on the NCCS).

Currently, only one local organization — the Andalusia American Legion Post 80 — is permitted to hold a charitable bingo operation. It holds paper bingo games every Tuesday and Friday night from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. and advertises at least $1,000 in cash prizes is paid out each night.