Over 25 years ago, then-business mogul Donald Trump sued the federal government over what he believed was the unfair advantage it afforded Indian gaming over the private sector.
The same battle is playing out in Alabama where Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, and Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, R-Anniston, have filed a bill that guarantees the Poarch Band of Creek Indians will keep its billion-dollar-a-year, tax-free monopoly over gaming in the state while denying private operators even a chance to compete.
Speaking before the U.S. Congress in 1993, the future president threw away his prepared remarks telling lawmakers that he decided it was “very boring” and “politically correct.”
The future commander-in-chief railed against what he saw as the outsized privilege given by the government to tribal interests while denying private owners a fair seat at the table.
During the hearing, then-New Jersey Rep. Robert Torricelli backed Trump saying that, “Indian tribes not only enjoy a competitive advantage over the Trumps of the world — tribes are not taxed on the profits from casinos — but also are not subject to the stringent background checks and audits to which Atlantic City casino owners must submit,” as reported by the New Jersey Monthly.
“There are no regulations to ensure that the games [on reservations] are honest,” Torricelli said.
Tribal games played at PCI’s three casinos are unregulated, enjoy tax-free status on all income from gaming and non-gaming and are not held to the same standards as other businesses in the state.
A bill by Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, would give the private sector a more level playing field with the tribe, which is what Trump argued for in 1993.
The question before the Republican-controlled legislature is will it continue to allow the Indians to have an unfair advantage over the would-be Trumps of the world or will they level the field for the private sector as Trump himself asked for in 1993.
Marsh first supported McClendon’s bill but recently experienced a change of heart and is now backing legislation that is decidedly pro-PCI and anti-private business.
His sudden about-face is widely seen as him falling under the sway of PCI’s excessive campaign war-chest. Marsh is considering a run for U.S. Senate and those close to him politically are suggesting that Marsh, who is polling dead last in the race, needs PCI money to be competitive.
As a private casino owner, Trump unsuccessfully fought against legislative interference that favored tribal gambling over private entities, but that is changing on a federal level.
According to Gambling Compliance, the leading provider of independent legal regulatory and business intelligence to the global gambling industry, President Donald Trump Administration, “has proven to be a big plus for the gaming industry — so far.” Gambling Compliance points to the appointment of “Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court [which] led to the abolition of the sports-betting ban in the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.”
While the president is expanding highly regulated gaming, Marsh and Albritton want to restrict gaming to “paper only,” which cuts about two-thirds of the revenue the state could receive under McClendon’s bill.
A 2017 study by the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries found that the 47 U.S. lotteries projected gross sales of $73.5 billion for traditional lottery products. It also saw the eight states that offered video lottery terminals added an additional $7 billion.
Marsh and Albritton’s plan would outlaw VLTs and other tech-games but allows the Indians to operate them, giving the tribe another considerable advantage.
McClendon’s legislation spreads the opportunity for growth in state tax revenue by permitting VLTs at the state’s existing pari-mutuel racetracks located in Jefferson, Macon, Greene and Mobile counties. PCI owns the track in Mobile County which gives them the same gaming opportunities while still maintaining their three unregulated-tax-free casinos. His bill allows a state lottery to be played at these locations because the counties each passed a constitutional amendment years ago allowing gambling at the four sites.
Legislation championed by Marsh and Albritton also stymies the lottery’s profitability because it ignores the future of the industry. McClendon’s doesn’t.
NASPL found that technology-powered games generated a newer player-base, especially among millennials with no cannibalization of retail store sales.
According to its study, “The Atlantic Lottery (Canada) experienced a 7 percent increase in revenue when it began offering internet gaming, [and] recently, following the introduction of internet-accessible games, the Michigan Lottery experienced a two-year rise in total sales of nearly 20 percent, which translated to a 23 percent increase in commissions paid to lottery retailers and an almost 20 percent increase in contributions to education programs.”
In the last election cycle alone, PCI contributed more than $1.4 million to primarily Republican candidates.
In 2015, they made common cause with then-Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, to kill a lottery bill sponsored by Marsh.
During the 2010 campaign that saw Republicans wrestle control of the State House from Democrat control, Marsh and Hubbard funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars from PCI through Republican State Leadership Committee and back to PACs controlled by the pair.
Alabama’s U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby has warned of PCI’s growing influence in the state.
Businessman Donald Trump warned against the Indians’ unfair advantage.
Under Marsh and Albritton’s bill, these warnings are ignored. If Marsh and Albritton’s plan is adopted not only will the legislature fail to correct what Trump exposed in 1993 they will enhance the tribe’s monopoly.
Manufacture Alabama launches “Ask the Experts” webinar
Ask the Experts: Employment Law Questions Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic is a new webinar being offered by Manufacture Alabama.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, disrupting the lives of everyone around our state, country, and the globe, employers are left with many questions and Manufacture Alabama wants to answer them.
Manufacture Alabama is the only trade association in the state dedicated exclusively to the competitive, legislative, regulatory, and operational interests and needs of manufacturers and their partner industries and businesses.
Manufacture Alabama has enlisted some of the top labor and employment attorneys in Alabama to bring you the first installment of a web series, ‘Ask the Experts.’ In the first installment, their experts will be answering your questions about implementing the new CARES Act Leave guidelines, and best practices for what to do if you have an employee test positive for COVID-19.
The attorneys will also be covering questions whether they are questions related to OSHA standards, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or the impact of the CARES Act, or anything else labor or employment-related.
Manufacture Alabama also wants to hear stories of the changes manufacturers have experienced in the workplace as a result of the pandemic, and how businesses have changed day to day operations.
Send your questions and responses regarding these topics to [email protected] and stay tuned.
The webinar will be published Tuesday, April 14.
Ainsworth unveils website for small businesses seeking information during pandemic
Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth unveiled a new web page Monday designed to provide small business owners with a one-stop information hub during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and forced economic shutdown.
The website is www.atlasalabama.gov.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is already providing small business owners with unprecedented challenges and frustrations, so they should not have to struggle to find the information necessary to survive in the current economic climate,” Ainsworth said. “As new small business programs are announced and revised health orders go into effect, the website will be updated in order to provide the most timely and accurate information possible.”
The website was created by the Alabama Small Business Commission, which Ainsworth chairs. The site provides information related to Small Business Administration loans and assistance, unemployment claims, tax relief programs, and other timely initiatives.
The website is intended to help small businesses remain in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. The website also provides links to every state, county, and municipal health order currently being enforced in Alabama.
The Legislature placed the Alabama Small Business Commission under the authority of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in 2019.
The 22-member commission is tasked with formulating “policies encouraging innovation of small businesses in the state” and advising the Department of Commerce in promoting small businesses within Alabama.
On March 12, the rapidly spreading coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2, led President Donald J. Trump (R) to order a forced economic shutdown on March 12. Those original orders have subsequently been strengthened by Gov. Kay Ivey (R), culminating in a statewide shelter in place order on Friday.
Realizing that with most of their businesses shut down through at least April 30, Congress passed and the President signed the CARES Act, which provides low interest loans to hundreds of thousands of struggling small businesses. If the businesses use the money to make payroll and to pay other business overhead costs the loans will be forgiven.
Currently, there are 2,113 Alabamians with confirmed cases of COVID-19. 64 Alabamians have died and 271 are currently in the hospital. 20 Alabamians have recovered from their illness and been cleared by their doctors. The global pandemic has infected more than 1,441,589 people globally and killed 82,933, including 7,380 people just on Tuesday (1,970 of them were Americans). Gov. Ivey’s shelter in place order is in effect through April 30, but that is likely to be extended.
Businesses applying for aid can receive proof of existence from secretary of state’s office
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Monday that federal resources have been made available to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to assist with tax relief, employee protection and benefits, loans and grants, and many other challenges that business owners may encounter during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Merrill’s office explained that in order to be eligible for this federal aid, some corporations and businesses may be required to prove their existence as part of their application. Certificates of Existence can be obtained through visiting the Alabama Secretary of State’s website.
Business owners can apply online to receive their Certificate of Existence electronically for immediate processing. The non-subscriber fee is $28 and will allow a user to download their copy for up to 15 days.
If you are completing the request for a Certificate of Existence by paper, you may access the application here.
The form must be typed and will not be accepted via email.
Once completed, mail the application, along with the $25 filing fee, to:
Secretary of State’s Business Services Division
P.O. Box 5616,
Montgomery, Alabama 36103
Those who apply online will not receive a mailed copy. Rather, a copy can be downloaded online and then printed out.
Certificates of Existence are only available for businesses who have previously filed for formation with the Secretary of State’s Office. If you have not yet filed, you are still able to do so through the Secretary of State’s website
This documentation may also be required to process loan applications by lending institutions, banks, credit unions, farm credit, or public accountants.
For questions or more information, contact the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division at (334) 242-7221 or (334) 242-5324.
Thousands of Alabama businesses have been forced to close by orders from the state as well as local health departments. Many businessmen and women are having to make the difficult decision on whether or not to continue to make payroll. The aid under the CARES Act is a lifeline to businesses that the federal government is offering during this unprecedented period of economic crisis.
The forced economic shutdown was deemed necessary by state and federal government authorities in consultation with public health experts in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2, that causes COVID-19. The COVID-19 global pandemic has already killed 12,857 Americans and 82,993 people globally. 1,050,077 people around the globe are still struggling through active cases of the illness, including 395,981 Americans.
Gov. Ivey launches state guide to COVID-19 relief efforts
Governor Kay Ivey on Monday announced the launch of altogetheralabama.org, an online resource that will serve as a hub of information for the state’s response to the coronavirus crisis.
The site becomes the state’s official guide to COVID-19 relief efforts, to help empower those impacted by the outbreak and those who want to offer support.
“We wanted to quickly create a trusted resource that centralizes information, resources and opportunities for businesses and individuals in need of support,” Governor Ivey said. “We are all in this together.”
The website is designed to be a comprehensive guide to aid in navigating all issues related to the COVID-19 response. Individuals and business owners can seek help and identify state and federal resources that can provide a lifeline in the form of low-interest loans and financial assistance.
Business owners, for example, can learn about the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which launched April 3 to provide a direct incentive for them to keep their workers on the payroll. Displaced workers, meanwhile, can use the site to learn about enhanced unemployment benefits.
“It’s important for Alabama’s business owners and its workforce to take full advantage of the resources being made available through the federal government’s $2 trillion coronavirus relief package,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “The site is meant to expedite the process so both employers and employees can get back up on their feet as fast as possible.”
At the same time, the site will function as a pathway for Alabama’s good corporate citizens and the general public to offer support and solutions that can help spark recovery across the state. It will act as a portal for companies, non-profits and individuals to volunteer, make donations of supplies, offer an assistance program, and even post job openings.
The site was developed in partnership with Opportunity Alabama, a non-profit organization that promotes investment in the state’s designated Opportunity Zones. It was facilitated by a partnership with Alabama Power.
“Over the last two years, Opportunity Zones have allowed us to build a network of stakeholders that care deeply about helping distressed places,” said Alex Flachsbart, Opportunity Alabama founder and CEO. “We hope this site will provide a gateway linking our network to those businesses and communities in economic distress, no matter where they are in Alabama.”
“These are challenging times,” added Governor Ivey. “We needed a place to efficiently and rapidly post and disseminate information – as soon as it’s available – for all affected parties. Thank you for your support and partnership in helping bring Alabama together.”
Any business, program or individual who would like to join ALtogether as a resource in COVID-19 response and relief can register at altogetheralabama.org/join.
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Jones asks for faster emergency loans to small businesses
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