Ivey wants to study tribal gaming expansion idea

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Poarch Band of Creek Indians want to make a deal with the state, in exchange for expansion in Alabama. The tribe says the deal could net Alabama in a billion dollars in the first year alone. Governor Ivey spoke publicly about it for the first time in Mobile.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has already started a media push with TV ads this week.  The tribe wants to build two more resorts with gambling in the state. Alabama’s governor seems to want to keep an open mind.  

“We’re always open to good strong sound proposals I look forward to reviewing that, but if we’re going to have a lottery that’s up to the legislature and we’ll certainly look into that,” said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. Both the governor and the tribe supporting a vote from Alabamians on a lottery–Alabama one of the few states in the nation still without one.

“If we’re going to have a lottery then it starts with the legislature and then goes to a vote of the people directly,” said Ivey. It remains to be seen whether this issue is a barnburner or a non-starter in the Alabama legislative session coming up. After the first year, the tribe estimates revenue to the state at 350 million annually. There is some concern. Political analyst Steve Flowers told our sister station WIAT this deal could lead to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians having exclusivity on gaming.

“Yes, they employee people, but one of the reasons why they employee so many people is because they don’t pay taxes,” Flowers said. “A lot of businesses would prosper if they didn’t pay any taxes.”

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