Bingo in Limbo

Published 5:58 pm Thursday, April 15, 2004

By By Arthur McLean Editor
The Poarch Creek Indians have hired a lobbyist to fight proposed "Bingo for Books" legislation pending in the state legislature.
The legislation is a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow for electronic gaming at the state's dog tracks.
Taxes from the gaming proceeds would be taxed by the state and the tax money would be allocated for education spending.
Tribe Chairman Eddie Tullis said the legislation is more about lining the pockets of wealthy dog track owners than education.
Tullis has publicly stated the tribe is willing to negotiate an agreement with the state to allow the taxing of gambling proceeds at its facilities here in Atmore and in Wetumpka.
The Poarch Creek Indians are the only federally recognized Indian Tribe in Alabama. Proceeds from gaming on the reservation are not taxed by the state. Several other states with Indian tribes do have agreements to tax gaming proceeds.
In the Atmore area, the Creek Bingo Palace offers electronic bingo and gaming machines for use seven days a week.
The facility, located on S.R. 21 north of Atmore, attracts players from around the region, including Mobile and Pensacola.
The addition of gaming machines at Mobile Greyhound Park could draw players away from the Creek Bingo Palace and visitors from the Atmore area.
Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said he did not know enough about the amendment to make a statement.
The amendment, proposed by Rep. Yvonne Kennedy has already been approved by the state Senate, and now awaits approval in the House of Representatives.
However, the legislation would require 63 votes for approval. Most observers and representatives believe there are not enough votes to carry the bill.
Many believe it will not come up for a vote of the House. Tuesday was the first day the bill could be considered. By press time, the bill had not come up for a vote.

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