In this 2018 file photo, visitors enter the focus of the bingo pavilion.
JAY HARE / DOTHAN EAGLE
Houston County’s Center Stage Bingo, also known at Crossing at Big Creek, is “discouraged” that it has been banned from the new state gambling laws.
“The wiregrass area is repeatedly overlooked by heads of state in economic development projects,” Center Stage said in a statement on Thursday.
The bill, introduced last week in the Alabama Senate, includes five more casino locations across the state, but was made noticeable by Center Stage, which state law enforcement shut down almost a decade ago for its electronic bingo games that are similar to slot machines left out.
During a debate on Thursday, the Associated Press reported that some lawmakers, including Senator Donnie Chesteen of Geneva, were concerned that their districts would not be included in the bill.
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Omitting wiregrass from legislation will cost Houston County between $ 3 million and $ 5 million in additional tax revenue each year, Center State said, according to economic projections from feasibility studies. In addition, the wiregrass could lose the ability to create 1,200 direct and 5,000 indirect jobs over a five-year period.
“In contrast to most places that are included in the current legislation, there is a significant infrastructure here at Wiregrass to create a real destination with accommodation, concert and theater venues in addition to games,” Center Stage continued. “We are working diligently with our local delegation to bring about a change that would include wiregrass in Senate Bill 214.”