Poarch gaming facility now open in Wetumpka
Published 8:47 am Wednesday, February 20, 2002
By By ROBBIE BYRD
Despite debate over last years Alabama House Bill 261, the Poarch Creek Indians have been gone ahead with their plans to place video gaming locations on tribal lands.
In fact, they currently have one location already in operation.
Riverside Entertainment Center in Wetumpka opened earlier this year on tribal lands owned by PCI.
The facility, which has 110 video gambling machines, employs 38. Proceeds from this facility are returned to the Atmore Tribal fund.
According to Tribal Reporter Roy Shivers, the money raised there will help support local programs in Poarch.
Shivers said plans are underway to place a second unit on the same location which will offer "traditional high stakes Indian Bingo."
The facility is currently constructed using six house trailers, joined together. The insides of these trailers are completely open, and PCI's gaming commission plan to add six more units to comprise the second location.
House Bill 261, known as the Chuck E. Cheese bill, was introduced into the state legislature last year, and, if passed, would have prevented the tribe from placing video gaming machines on any of its properties.
According to Nick Lackeos, who has been covering this issue for the Montgomery Advertiser, the state house and senate have introduced such legislation for the past six years that have all failed.
The machines pay out in certificates that may be redeemed for various prizes, but cannot be redeemed for cash. In Alabama, non-skill based video gaming machines are legal as long as the machines do not pay out in cash as long as either the city or county do not currently have legislation barring it.
Wetumpka has such an ordinance, but because the land the Riverside Entertainment Center is located on is PCI tribal land, it falls outside of that ordinance.
Wetumpka Mayor Scott Golden said that while he was not in favor of gambling, he will support the facility.
Shivers said the tribe is looking at building another location in the area if the Wetumpka venture proves profitable.