The Poarch Band of Creek Indians owns and operates the Wind Creek Casino in Atmore, Alabama, which is part of the tribe's multi-state gaming portfolio. Photo: U.S. Library of Congress

Alabama governor wants 'facts' on gaming compact with Poarch Band of Creek Indians

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) still won't commit to negotiating a Class III gaming compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Ivey told reporters on Wednesday that she wants the "facts" before moving forward on a deal with the tribe. Her demand also applies to a lottery, which is seen as a critical component of expanded gaming in the state.

"That’s all I want is the facts, not recommendations," Ivey told reporters, AL.Com reported. "I just want the facts about how much monies the state can expect to gain if we just do a lottery or if we do expanded gaming or if we do a compact."

“And what the heck does a compact look like?" Ivey continued, according to AL.Com. "What are the components of a compact? What are the responsibilities of both parties? We don’t know.”

With a campaign called Winning for Alabama, the tribe has already offered some broad outlines of what a compact would look like, at least when it comes to revenue sharing. The tribe believes expanded gaming would bring in $1 billion in the first year of operation alone, though that figure is contingent on opening two new facilities in the state in addition to offering Class III games at its existing properties.

"We have a comprehensive plan that includes both a clean lottery and regulated casino gaming that will provide a reliable source of revenues that the state can count on," Poarch Creek Chair and CEO Stephanie Bryan wrote in a letter to lawmakers. "Our plan draws on the lessons we have learned by doing gaming right. We have built well-run, profitable gaming businesses that create jobs, support families and communities, and produce real economic development."

"We understand the economic power of gaming, so our plan calls for large licensing fees to be paid to the state in return for the privilege of running deluxe, resort casinos that are tourist destinations," Bryan continued. "Those fees will provide an immediate, much needed infusion of funds to Alabama’s budget."

Alabama is one of the few holdouts in terms of Class III gaming, with Texas and Nebraska also refusing to come to the table despite repeated requests from tribes. Nearly every other state, on the other hand, has negotiated the government-to-government agreements that are key feature of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

Class III gaming is a category that includes slot machines, most table games like blackjack and ball and dice games, such as craps and roulette. According to IGRA, tribes can only offer such gaming through a compact or through procedures approved by the federal government.

Class III gaming are considered more lucrative than Class II gaming, which covers bingo and electronic forms of bingo. The Poarch Band only offers Class II games at its properties in Alabama.

The tribe, through its Wind Creek Hospitality enterprise, operates or manages Indian gaming and commercial casinos across the U.S. and in other countries.

Read More on the Story
Gov. Kay Ivey says she wants facts on gambling options (Al.Com February 5, 2020)
Gov. Kay Ivey: No tribal compact before she gets 'facts' on gambling (The Montgomery Advertiser February 5, 2020)
Ivey seeks pause on gambling debate, says facts needed (The Associated Press February 5, 2020)
Wind Creek Bethlehem goes swanky with new hotel thanks to lucrative tax incentive (LehighValleyLive.Com February 5, 2020)

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