King in D.C. over Indian gaming
Published 10:31 pm Wednesday, September 15, 2004
By By Staff Reports
Alabama Attorney General Troy King met with federal law officials over Indian gaming in the state last week, but the content of those meetings was not disclosed.
King met with Attorney General John Ashcroft and also with the National Indian Gaming Commission in a series of private meetings held in Washington, D.C.
"This visit is part of the fact-finding process that we started several weeks ago when we began visiting gambling facilities across the state," King said. "Once this process is complete, we will make some form of public pronouncement, and at this point in the process, we are on no set timetable."
The meetings in Washington follow a series of visits King took to inspect the video gaming side of Indian gaming operations throughout the state, including a visit to the Bingo Palace in Atmore August 5.
"If I'm going to make decisions and evaluations of the situation, I think as the attorney general I should have personal, first hand knowledge," King said.
King has visited gaming centers throughout the state including Tallapoosa, Atmore and Wetumpka facilities. The visits stem from accusations by organizations throughout the state alleging that the machines at the Creek Bingo Palace and other locations violate state law regarding Class II gaming. While King would not name the source of the accusations, Arthur Mothershed, chief financial officer of Poarch Creek Indian Gaming, said that an official complaint had been made by the Christian Coalition.
The complaints allege that the Poarch facilities have illegal Class III machines. A Class III game is classified as a game that pits one player against a computer game. Class II games, in which two or more players face each other in a common game, such as electronic bingo, are allowed.
The Christian Coalition of Alabama filed an official complaint against the machines in use to the National Indian Gaming Commission, one of the federal regulatory bodies to oversee Indian gaming.
However, recent reports have shed a new light on the accusations made by the Christian Coalition.
Published reports indicate the Christian Coalition may have received financial assistance from Mississippi casino operations. The money may have come from casinos operated by other Indian tribes and come through Ralph Reed, the national head of the Christian Coalition.
Legal casino gambling operations in Alabama would be a threat to Mississippi casinos, many of which are located near the Alabama-Mississippi border.
Currently, Alabama does not allow casino style gambling on Indian reservations. A pact between the tribe and state must be approved and signed by the governor for Indian operations to legally operate a casino.