Creek Bingo okay say feds

Published 1:26 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
A week after Alabama Attorney General Troy King announced the results of his statewide gambling probe, two more groups have stepped into the fray.
In a statement made last week in Montgomery, King said he had no jurisdiction over the gaming operations on Poarch Creek reservations in Atmore or Wetumpka. At that time, King said he had no further comment on the matter.
This week, seemingly conflicting statements were issued by the U.S. Attorney's office of the southern district, and the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think-tank.
In an editorial piece submitted to newspapers statewide, the Alabama Policy Institute's Gary Palmer claimed that King was working with federal officials to stamp out Indian gaming.
"The state can appeal to the federal government to enforce Alabama's laws on the lands owned by the tribe, and Attorney General King has already begun that process," Palmer said.
Chris Bence, a spokesman for the Attorney General's office in Montgomery said drawing his own conclusions. "The Attorney General has steadfastly said he would have no comment on Indian gaming. He has not made any comments and will not make any comments," Bence said.
The United States Attorney's office in Mobile issued a lengthy statement that appeared to contradict Palmer's claim.
"There have been a number of public questions concerning Indian gaming in Alabama in the last two years… In Alabama, Indian gaming, which is limited to bingo, is explicitly authorized, defined and regulated by federal law," the statement read.
"We know of three inspections by the NIGC (National Indian Gaming Commission) investigators of the Atmore, Montgomery and Wetumpka facilities within the last year…they were conducted at our request."
The statement goes on to list that some 76 gaming machines were removed from Indian facilities and another 600 were reprogrammed or reconfigured to meet the legal requirements of federal law.
"We understand the Poarch Tribe is continuing to work closely with the NIGC to bring its Alabama gaming facilities into complete compliance if the (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act)."
"We are pleased to report that the Poarch Creek Tribe has been cooperative in our efforts and has consistently expressed a willingness to operate within the boundaries of the law."

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