Native tribe wants a casino in Alabama, promises $1 billion in state contributions
The Poarch Creek Indians want to corner Alabama’s gambling market
The current legislation in Alabama is stern, even to operate casinos or any form of gambling, except for the three casinos that are already operated by the Poarch Creek Indians. And, even though state officials have turned to lotteries to find that extra funding for the budget, the tribe is making an appealing offer to lawmakers. According to the Poarch Creek Indians, $1 billion dollars can be funneled to the state by the tribe, though it comes with a catch. Alabama would have to allow two more casinos and also approve table games such as blackjack and roulette.
It would not seem like such a big compromise if it weren’t for the fact that the tribe also wants exclusivity in the Yellowhammer State to be the only gambling operators. As part of Poarch Creek Accountability Now, a lobby group wanting to force more openness from the tribe, former state senator Gerald Dial is not really thrilled with the proposal, explaining, “Once you pass a constitutional amendment, you can’t say the Poarch Creek Indians get the casino. You’ve got to have a process where you give anyone an opportunity. If someone from Las Vegas wanted to build one in Huntsville, they’d have the same opportunities.”
Groups like this one have bigger concerns about a monopoly in gaming, and, according to Representative Rex Reynolds, it should have more transparency. “Let’s put it out there and let the Poarch Creek Indians compete for it just like somebody else might compete for it. I don’t know if anyone can compete with them in Alabama since they’ve got existing casinos,” said Reynolds.
The three operating casinos are in Atmore, another in Wetumpka and the third in Montgomery. According to Poarch Creek Accountability Now, the tribes are not event paying taxes for the $3 billion revenue the tribes have.