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Tribe offers to buy exclusive rights to gambling in Alabama

Bill Britt

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On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians released its winning for Alabama plan, which, if accepted by the state, would give the tribe—comprised of roughly 4,000 individuals—exclusive gaming rights throughout Alabama.

Over the last several weeks, PCI, which pays no tax on its gaming profits in the state, has been running ads touting the tribe’s contribution to the state’s economy.

This offering is widely seen as a response to statewide commercials being run by the nonprofit organization, Poarch Creek Accountability Now.

New nonprofit wants to provide facts about Poarch Creek Indians

Led by former state Sen. Gerald Dial, the group is seeking to inform citizens on, ” true and accurate information” about PCI and their gaming revenue and expenditures.

Under PCI’s proposal, the tribe would pay the state $225 million “for exclusive gaming rights in the State through a compact.”

Gov. Kay Ivey’s office says there have been no formal discussions with the tribe concerning a compact.

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PCI also proposes opening “two additional first-class gaming and tourism destination sites with unlimited gaming.”

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At these new facilities, the tribe would offer blackjack, craps and other table games. The tribe also asking for the right to operate sports betting at its casinos.

In response to the PCI offer, Dial said, “It’s encouraging that they are coming to the table with a proposal because right now the Poarch Creek gaming operation pays no taxes on gaming profits.”

PCI says it supports a “A clean, traditional lottery,” which is believed to mean a paper lottery as presented during the last Legislative Session by state Sen. Greg Albritton who represents PCI.

Ivey’s press secretary, Gina Maiola, responding to APR‘s request for comment, said, “The governor, as she has previously stated, is open to Alabama having a clean lottery.” However, she concluded the new PCI plan goes further than a lottery and “Would need to be thoroughly discussed and fully vetted.”

Ivey’s spokesperson said, “Ultimately, this is a question for the Legislature, but the governor is open to hearing any recommendations.”

The tribe says it is willing to pay up to a 25 percent tax rate for the two additional destination resort sites and up to a 25 percent revenue share on Class III games at existing sites. It is unclear how this would be accomplished given federal regulations concerning Indian gaming.

PCI claims its plan would provide revenues of more than $1 billion after the first year.

APR offers an analysis here.

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