Alabama Reviewing Gaming Options

A gaming advisory council to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (l.) is reviewing everything from all-out gambling to a lottery to a gaming compact with the Poarch Creek Indians, said council member state Rep. Connie Rowe. She said the tribe makes billions of tax-free dollars from its three casinos in the state.

Alabama state Rep. Connie Rowe, a member of Governor Robert Bentley’s gaming advisory council, recently said council members represent a wide range of opinions, with some wanting a full array of gambling available, some wanting a state lottery–and others who prefer a gaming compact with the Poarch Creek Indians.

Rowe said even the most conservative legislators in the capital are open to a compact with that tribe. “There is not any one single solitary thing we can do about anything they do on their land,”?she said, adding the tribe makes billions of tax-free dollars.

“The only way to extract revenue from them is to form a compact, and for a compact you have to entertain Class III gaming. Class II machines are the games that must be connected together for games like bingo to be played, and more than one has to play because they play against each other.?Class III?machines are independent, and what they are, they are slot machines. That is what Class II games are except they are connected together. It’s called bingo but you and I?know they are not bingo.”

She said many gaming council members support a compact with the Poarch Creeks that would limit the tribe to what they offer now, but change the games from Class II to Class III. “What they want is some property in North Alabama that they already own”?in which to build a facility with Class III machines. “What I would predict is less as opposed to more. The lower end of the possibilities are more possible than some of those extreme things that have been laid out there,” Rowe said.

Any compact with the Poarch Creek Indians would require approval from the Tribal Gaming Commission acting under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The tribe operates Wind Creek casinos in Atmore, Montgomery and Wetumpka.