Ivey says she would ‘consider’ talking with Poarch Creeks about proposed gaming plan
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey said she would look at talking with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians about proposed plan to expand gaming in Alabama during an interview Wednesday. The tribe said its proposed plan would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
“I’ll certainly consider sitting down and talking with them. But if we’re going to have gambling, first the lottery is going to have to be passed by the legislature and then voted on by the people. So, we’ll see where this goes," Ivey said Wednesday.
Poarch Tribal Chair CEO Stephanie Bryan said on Friday that the plan would help meet Alabama’s budget needs.
“We know that everyone in the state of Alabama do not support gaming," said Bryan. "But we do know that they have unmet needs when it comes to education, healthcare, infrastructure, transportation. So, we know there are unmet needs from those individuals.”
The group estimates this plan would provide revenues of more than $1 billion after the first year. The tribe said the breakdown of that number is made up of $725 million from license fees and $350 million in annual taxes from new development and revenue share on Class III games at existing sites.
The tribe’s plan would require Alabamians vote on a constitutional amendment to legalize Class III which allows for black jack and other table games. The tribe would also want two additional resort sites in north Alabama.
The group would want exclusive gambling rights through a compact with the state.
Some lawmakers are not fully on board with giving the tribe exclusive rights.
“Basically it gives a monopoly to one entity and I just don’t know if the taxpayers would support that," Sen. Del Marsh said Wednesday.
Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, was also hesitant about exclusivity.
“I just think that it would not be wise for the governor to give a monopoly in this state to anyone without first vetting that process," said Singleton. "I applaud the Native Americans for their tenacity to do business in this state and to be a good corporate citizen, but that still doesn’t deserve them a complete monopoly in this state.”
Marsh said he anticipates the tribe’s plan will be discussed during the upcoming legislative session which begins February.
Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.