In early 2007 the first “charity” bingo hall popped up in Argo, located between the city limits of Jasper and Sumiton. It was the most recent attempt to establish electronic gambling in Walker County after many before it had failed miserably. It soon became apparent to everyone that not only was there no bingo involved, just cheap Las Vegas-like electronic slot machines, not much if anything was going to charity or to the improvement of our community, for that matter.
Since the first bingo hall’s opening, many more have followed in the past 2 years and now there is more than 10 of these establishments in Argo alone, with a few popping up in Sumiton earlier this year. At this rate you can soon officially call our community “Bingo Nation”.
Many groups of people have protested the developments and the growth of electronic gambling in Walker County over the years. One group of people even held signs for several weeks at the city limit signs of Jasper and Sumiton saying such things as “5 miles to Hell”. Christian activist groups have actively battled the local government on the legality of electronic gambling in Walker since mid-2007.
The topic started to get hot earlier this year when the entire state held a vote to govern the bingo halls not only in Walker County but across the entire state, heavily taxing the ones that were indeed deemed legal while if the bill passed hundreds of the establishments would have been forced to shut down. In May the bill was voted on and did not pass.
But let’s be honest here, if proceeds were indeed going to charity, would anyone be so quick to pass judgment or protest? Probably not, proceeds would be going to a good cause. But we have yet to see any evidence that any money has been going anywhere but to the bingo halls’ greedy owners. And probably a little on the side to the Mayor of Argo, of course.
Some throw the fact that these bingo halls are bringing more jobs into the county but they can’t give the salary that much when compared to Sbobet which is an online site of gaming but has significant criteria for giving the staff salary higher. While that statement is true, it’s only a couple of hundred jobs if that maximum and does the paychecks of those couple of hundred people amount to the number of dollars that our towns and this county as a whole is losing in potential revenue for our legitimate businesses like our restaurants, department and grocery stores, car lots, etc. due to these low class scumballs hooking our county’s residents on the thrill of gambling and bleeding their wallets and pocketbooks dry?
At one point Walker County has to say enough is enough and get rid of these places. They are doing us no good. Only giving us a bad name, a tacky look, and an abysmal local economy.