With a budget crisis looming (October 1st), legislators in the state of Alabama are being asked to consider a gaming agreement with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized Indian Tribe in the state of Alabama. The Tribe operates the only three gaming facilities in the state, including: the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore; Creek Casino Wetumpka; and, Creek Casino Montgomery.
According to Robert McGhee, Vice Chairman and Government Adviser for the Poarch Creek Band of Creek Indians, the compact would include an initial loan of $250 million .
In addition, The tribe is also offering to share revenue in return for exclusive class three gaming rights. Class III includes table games in addition to true slot machines. They would give the state $40-60 million each year for however long the agreement states, according to McGhee.
According to Representative Chris Pringle, the compact would give the Poarch Creeks exclusive gaming rights in the state, and while it may seem like a good deal now he doesn’t know how it would affect the state 20 years from now.
The Poarch Creek’s expansive media campaign urges voters to contact their legislators to convince them to take the $250 million deal intended to fix the state’s current budget deficit.
Local representatives say little is known about the deal and it’s out of their hands.
According to state Senator Rusty Glover, Alabama’s constitution is set up so that the governor can negotiate this deal himself, and that he is the only one who can negotiate with the tribe.
While most representatives along with Jennifer Ardis, Director of Communications for the Governor’s office say that the proposed offer from the Poarch Band will not solve the budget crisis that begins on October 1, McGhee maintains the compact has the ability to address the issue now.
In the meantime legislators have until October 1st to come up with a solution. That solution could include a statewide lottery and gambling at racetracks, as proposed by Senate leader, Del Marsh.