Bye-Bye BINGO - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Pocahontas, AR -- Melissa Simas reports

Bye-Bye BINGO

July 21, 2004 --Posted 10:30 p.m. CDT

Pocahontas, AR -- A 5 letter word is causing quite a stir in a Region 8 county.

Recently, Randolph County Sheriff Brent Earley asked operators of 2 bingo games in Pocahontas to voluntarily close down or face prosecution.

"I realized it was illegal and decided to go ahead and close the doors," said Earley.

According to Arkansas Code, the operation of a commercial bingo hall meets the definition of a gambling house and is therefore a common law public nuisance.

"You can't say based on all the good things they have done with that money, we're going to go ahead and turn our backs and look the other way," said Earley.

Bingo isn't allowed at St. Paul's Catholic Church anymore.  They decided to cash in their cards on Tuesday after years of raising money directly for the school.

Over at Ameri Vets, they've decided to play another round. They're looking for legal options to remain open, because they say they help out the community including law enforcement.

"We helped pay for the rifle range for the Sheriff's Department, the computer system for the Sheriff's Department," said Mark McQueen with Ameri Vets.

"I did take some money from a donation for some computers that we have," said Earley. " At the time I took the money I thought it was charitable."

Earley says he's not going to return the computers unless McQueen asks for them back.

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