The recording of the public town hall Session with Sheriff Joe. He did not spell out the rule changes, nor did he go into depth as to why he sued all operators as well as vendors. Below is a brief summary of the changes as well as lawsuit he’s filed. We will post both in full detail.
The Sheriff sent a proclamation of amendments to the recompiled rules and regulations for Bingo in Greene County, Alabama. The Sheriff is “exercising” his right to define “electronic marking machines” for the first time in state history, eliminating the need for continued, protracted, and expensive litigation.
Summary of changes
– Electronic Marking Machines must be fully integrated with the approved Bookend Bingo software within 45 days of October 10th, 2023
– All Bookend Bingo games have three phases: the Beginning Phase, the Entertainment Phase, and the Completing Phase
– Players accrue points during the Beginning Phase that can be used to play entertainment games during the Entertainment Phase
– The Completing Phase determines a player’s winnings based on the outcome of game patterns achieved during that phase
– No paper cards not purchased from the Sheriff’s department may be used at any Bingo Facility
– Paper Bingo cards must bear a stamp of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department and be purchased from the department
We received notice on October 17th that we have until November 24th to completely implement the “Bookend Bingo System.” Or turn off and remove any game that is not part of the Bookend Bingo System and destroy any paper bingo card that has not been expressly purchased through the Sheriff’s Department.
The Bookend Bingo System requires all of the following:
- The Electronic Marking Machine must facilitate communication between players and between players and the house.
- The Electronic Marking Machine must allow each player to use one or more card(s) with spaces arranged in five (5) columns and five (5) rows with an alphanumeric or similar designation assigned to each space.
- Every card available for play on an Electronic Marking Machine must include alphanumeric or similar designations that are randomly drawn and announced one by one.
- The Electronic Marking Machine allows players to select the card(s) they will play.
- The Electronic Marking Machine reads all the cards at the beginning of the game and remembers them until the power is switched off.
- The Electronic Marking Machine utilizes the console speakers to audibly announce each ball drawn.
- The Electronic Marking Machine must facilitate a player’s ability to physically mark or daub their Bingo card as the numbers are selected and called.
- The Electronic Marking Machine provides a means for recording not only the numbers called out by the dealer but also any pattern that is pre-defined as constituting “BINGO” or, equivalently, a win.
- In order to play Bingo on an Electronic Marking Machine, each player must pay attention to the values announced: if one of the values matches a value on one or more of the player’s cards. The player must physically act by marking or daubing his or her card accordingly.
- If a player fails to pay proper attention or to properly mark or daub his or her card. And thereby misses an opportunity to be declared a winner; the player forfeits any prize he or she would have won had the player claimed his or her winning “bingo.”
- A player must recognize that his or her card has a “bingo.” i.e… a predetermined pattern of matching values and, in turn, announce to the other players and the announcer that this is the case before the next ball is drawn and/or announced
- The Electronic Marking Machine must allow the players to notify other players and the house when a “BINGO” has been achieved. Thereby entitling the winning player(s) to claim a prize and., if the pattern achieved is a game-ending pattern, terminating the game.
All of this is an extremely tall order, and no one vendor or hall has seen the software, let alone tested with said software. No given game vendor can integrate and implement such drastic software changes to their software without rewriting the entirety of the game code to facilitate these requests. Allowing at most 30 calendar days is equivalent to ensuring all halls are closed by the November cutoff date.
Furthermore, all halls, including Rivers Edge Bingo and all nonprofits associated with said halls, have also been included in a civil suit. The suit, filed by the Sheriff’s attorneys, requests the Greene County circuit judge to grant an injunction against operations until the “Bookend Bingo System” is in place. The civil suit stipulates that “the licensees will be prohibited from offering the play of anything other than Bookend Bingo after October 10th, 2023.” The civil suit also states that “bingo games currently provided to licensees are no longer legal to play in Greene County, Alabama. Only Bookend Bingo games played on electronic marking machines (as defined in the Rules) are lawful to play…”
This shows that the Sheriff made fundamental changes to all of the rules of operation and has allowed zero (0) time for an operator, hall, or nonprofit to take corrective actions. Halls (Rivers Edge Bingo), following the letter of the law and the nuances stipulated by the Sheriff’s attorneys, are now forced with a civil suit and potential closure. Finally, there is also an additional cost associated with all of this. The halls, vendors, and manufacturers, now have an additional $5,000 (each) that has to be paid to the company providing the system, (to which the sheriff earns a %). The halls are now also being forced to disclose their potential earnings based on the backend having the ability to “monitor money”. Lastly, but certainly not least – the Bookend Bingo provider is charging 6% of the net hold, that is money before the vendors are paid what they require, and before any money is sent to the charities or to the sheriff to disburse.
Click the links to the documents sent on behalf of the sheriff to all operators in Greene County.