Poarch Creeks eager to discuss gaming options with Alabama

The Wind Creek Wetumpka gaming facility in Wetumpka, Alabama. Photo from Facebook

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians want to help Alabama address its fiscal crisis, Chairwoman Stephanie A. Bryan said, although Republican politicians in the state can't seem to agree whether that includes gaming.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R) introduced a gaming bill that authorizes negotiations for a Class III gaming compact. But Gov. Robert Bentley (R) has said he won't enter into talks until the state first solves its $541 million budget deficit.

Over in the House, Republican leaders are also calling on the governor to enter into an agreement with the tribe. Yet they are apparently restricting their proposal to Class II games -- a category over which the state has no control.

The tribe wants to enter a Class III gaming compact and has been willing to share revenues with the state. But in order to pass muster at the Bureau of Indian Affairs a deal would require some form of exclusivity -- Marsh's bill allows gaming at racetracks so there appears to be no meaningful concession on the table.

Despite the uncertainty, Bryan said the tribe wants to continue discussions. “Like all of Alabama’s citizens, we are worried about the financial crisis facing Alabama," she said in a statement, the Associated Press reported.

"As a working government, we have been consistent in our desire to maintain and improve the quality of life for our tribal members, employees, and fellow community members throughout the state," Bryan said. "We have gladly answered the call to help many times over the years, and once again we stand ready to be part of the solution to this budget crisis."

Get the Story:
State’s GOP lawmakers look to gambling (AP 5/5)
Marsh files gambling bill; House GOP backs Poarch compact (The Montgomery Advertiser 5/6)
Alabama Legislator Introduces Lottery and Casino Bill (Casino News Daily 5/6)

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Opinion: Negotiate Class III casino compact with Poarch Creeks (4/30)
Poarch Creeks offer $250M for Class III gaming deal in Alabama (4/29)

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