Poarch Creek land-into-trust bill could help casino effort in Florida

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians owns a one-acre parcel of trust property along Nokomis Road in McDavid, Florida. The tribe has constructed a building at the site, not shown in this Google Maps image dated May 2011. Image from Google Maps

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama wants to expand its gaming empire into Florida and a new bill in Congress could help with that effort.

H.R.5486, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Land Reaffirmation Act, confirms that the tribe's 1-acre trust property in Florida is Indian Country. That could address concerns raised by Gov. Rick Scott (R), who has refused to negotiate a Class III gaming compact with the tribe because he contends the site's legality is in question.

But the primary focus of the bill is the tribe's trust land in Alabama, where the tax assessor in Escambia County has asserted the right to tax the Wind Creek Casino and Hotel in Atmore. The assessor sent a $22.3 million tax bill to the tribe but a federal judge ruled against him.

The case is now before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and passage of H.R.5486 would protect the tribe from any negative rulings.

Get the Story:
Byrne proposal would bar taxing Poarch Creek trust land (The Montgomery Advertiser 6/23)

Department of the Interior Solicitor Opinion:
M-37029: The Meaning of "Under Federal Jurisdiction" for Purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act (March 12, 2014)

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