Olive Branch bingo hall in trouble after investigation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Olive Branch bingo hall in trouble after investigation

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC-TV) - A bingo hall in Olive Branch is in trouble with the state gaming commission after an investigation.

The Boxcar Bingo Parlor in Olive Branch is very popular among the locals, but because of a recent decision by the Mississippi Gaming Commission, it may have to shut its doors.

The Commission denied an operating license to the facility because its operator may have misused some monies.

"Very simply put, they were not giving monies to charity as bingo is supposed to do," said the Gaming Commission's Larry Gregory. "They run a bingo operation and bingo is setup for one reason, and that is to give money to charity."

Bill Murphy runs the Fine Arts Institute of Mississippi in Jackson, which owns Boxcar Bingo. He says the bingo operation has brought in millions for the charity he runs, but does admit to some mistakes.

"We've made a couple of mistakes, none of which are serious or none of which have been breaking the law," he said.

According to the commission, Murphy wanted to spend several thousand dollars on a lobbyist and some computer software, which should have been paid from bingo money, not charity money. Olive Branch Mayor Sam Rikard said he will wait for a final decision before deciding what the city does if Boxcar's license is declared invalid. 

"The process in Olive Branch would be our board of Adjustments would set a public hearing to hear the matter," Rikard said. "The issue then would be to revoke the conditional use."

According to Rikard, the process of setting up and having a public meeting could take several weeks, and might not happen until December.  Murphy said he will appeal the Gaming Commission's decision.

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