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US – Poarch Band of Creek Indians wants exclusivity and two more resorts in Alabama

By - 13 November 2019

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians wants to pay the state of Alabama $225m ‘for exclusive gaming rights in the State through a compact’ and the right to build two more casinos.

The tribe has suggested it could open ‘two additional first-class gaming and tourism destination sites with unlimited gaming’ in return for the payment.

Whilst Governor Kay Ivey’s office said there have been no official talks with the tribe concerning a compact, her Press secretary, Gina Maiola, 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. Ultimately, this is a question for the Legislature, but the governor is open to hearing any recommendations.”

The tribe, which pays no tax on its gaming profits, has recently been running ads highlighting the tribe’s contribution to the state’s economy in response to statewide commercials being run by the nonprofit organisation, Poarch Creek Accountability Now. Headed up by former state Senator Gerald Dial, the group is looking to reveal ‘true and accurate information’ about PCI and their gaming revenue and expenditures.

Under PCI’s proposal, the tribe would generate billions of dollars in new revenues to the State, create thousands of new jobs, and regulate and tax gaming interests. It also calls for the construction of two deluxe tourist resorts in the northern part of the State, and supports citizens’ rights to vote on gaming issues, including whether Alabama should also have the kind of traditional lottery that other neighbouring states have in place.

“We have long believed that the economic power of gaming should be strategically harnessed to create opportunities for everyone who lives in Alabama,” said Stephanie Bryan, Poarch Tribal Chair and CEO. “This plan does that, and we are committed to making sure that our positions on gaming and our commitment to helping improve the quality of life in Alabama are clear. ”

In recent weeks, the Tribe and its gaming business (PBCI Gaming) have been the subject of a public misinformation campaign funded by an anonymous group. The tribe said that the ‘sole purpose of that group’s work was to misrepresent the Tribe’s position on gaming in the State, confuse the issues surrounding gaming regulation and taxation, and damage Poarch’s reputation.’

By contrast, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians made the decision to state publicly what they propose in the way of a solid, comprehensive plan for gaming in the State through a public awareness campaign that includes a gaming policy-focused website

www.winningforalabama.com . The website gives citizens a platform to voice their opinions on specific gaming issues. It also provides opportunities for communities across Alabama to alert the Tribe and other State leaders about their critical needs.

“We hope that the information we are making available will prompt both citizens and our State’s legislators to seriously consider a solid plan for gaming that can have real economic benefits for Alabama,” said Chairwoman Bryan. “We believe that it is important everyone in the State has access to honest information and constructive ideas so they can make the best decisions about an issue that is critically important to Alabama’s economic well-being and quality of life.”

Mr. 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.”

The Tribe operates a variety of economic enterprises including Wind Creek Hospitality, an authority of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Wind Creek Hospitality manages the Tribes gaming facilities including: Wind Creek Atmore, Wind Creek Wetumpka, Wind Creek Montgomery, Wind Creek Bethlehem, Wa She Shu Casino in Nevada, Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino as well as racetracks in Alabama and Florida.

The Tribe also operates Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority (CIEDA), the economic development arm of the Tribe. CIEDA manages on their behalf: Muskogee Technology, Media Fusion, Creek Convenience Store Atmore, Creek Convenience Store Wetumpka, Creek Travel Plaza, OWA, and other non-gaming economic endeavors.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is an active partner in the state of Alabama, contributing to economic, educational, social and cultural projects benefiting both Tribal Members and residents of these local communities and neighboring towns. The Tribe’s Planned Giving Campaign includes significant donations to local schools, education scholarships, senior centers, youth athletics, and charitable organizations.

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