“What could Alabama do with a billion dollars?”
That’s the question the Poarch Band of Creek Indians poses on its site “Winning for Alabama” — its platform to advocate for change to improve Alabama’s economy.
The site reveals the Tribe’s proposal for a comprehensive plan for gaming, complete with a lottery to generate significant additional revenue for the state.
After the first year, the Band estimates it would pay the state more than one billion dollars — including $725 million from license fees and compact exclusivity, plus nearly $350 million in annual taxes from new development in “northern Alabama” in addition to revenue share from its existing Class III gaming facilities. Lottery sales were not included in the Band’s $1 billion projection.
“We support a clean lottery bill,” the Poarch Band’s governmental relations advisor Robbie McGhee recently told Yellowhammer News. “We always have and if it’s part of a larger casino package….. You have people who are driving to Georgia, to Florida and surrounding states for the lottery. I think you should have that opportunity to do that here in the state of Alabama.”
The Tribe even measures how its $1 billion plan compares to other big wins in Alabama, and it comes in second only to Mazda Toyota’s $1.6 billion auto manufacturing plant in Huntsville.
The Tribe envisions two additional first-class gaming sites with a sports book and unlimited gaming: black jack, craps, and other table games. As tourism destinations, they would feature luxury hotels, restaurants, spas and other amenities.
The site lays out the Band’s support for legislation that includes:
- A clean, traditional lottery
- Two additional first-class gaming and tourism destination sites with unlimited gaming (black jack, craps, and other table games, a sports book, and top-notch hotels, restaurants, spas, and other amenities)
- Taxes on the two additional destination resort sites
- A revenue share on Class III games at existing sites
- An additional $225 million payment to Alabama for exclusive gaming rights in the state through a compact.
“We have long believed that the economic power of gaming should be strategically harnessed to create opportunities for everyone who lives in Alabama,” noted 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.”
“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. 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.”
Gina Maiola, Press Secretary for Governor of Alabama Kay Ivey, told bamapolitics.com that the governor may be willing to entertain the idea of negotiating a compact with the Poarch Creek Band: “The governor, as she has previously stated, is open to Alabama having a clean lottery. This proposal goes further 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.”
While the Poarch Band of Creek Indians has lived together as a community for more than 150 years, it wasn’t until 35 years ago, on August 11, 1984, that the Band gained federal recognition. Today the Tribe is an economic powerhouse that operates one of the largest industries in southeastern Alabama, directly creating more than 9,000 jobs.
And beyond those 9,000 jobs, the Poarch Band’s expansion would “bring more than 6,500 new jobs to Alabama in the next three years, with more than half of those jobs remaining after initial construction. These new jobs will generate $300 million in annual wages,” the “Winning for Alabama” site states.