Circuit court upholds district court opinion

Published 3:04 pm Thursday, September 3, 2015

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said today that he doesn’t agree with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in the case of the State of Alabama vs. PCI (Poarch Band of Creek Indians) Gaming Authority.

“From the beginning, it has been my goal to settle the question of the legality of gambling at Indian-run casinos in Alabama once and for all,” Strange said in a statement. “The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the district court’s opinion that the United States is the only government that can enforce state and federal gambling laws on the PCI’s lands. While I do not agree with the Appeals Court’s decision, it provides certainty and guidance to state officials where there was none before. The Appeals Court’s decision makes it clear that the only way for the State of Alabama to regulate the gambling conducted on the PCI’s lands is to enter into a compact with the PCI. That is a decision for the Governor and Legislature, not me. After thoroughly reviewing the decision, I do not intend to petition for review in the United States Supreme Court.”

In July 2014, Strange took the state’s case against PCI to a federal appeals court, arguing that PCI’s casinos are illegal in the state of Alabama, according to Atmore Advance archives. Three months prior to Strange issuing the state’s appeal, Judge W. Keith Watkins of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division, granted PCI’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

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The state appealed Watkins’ decision on May 5, 2014.

In January of this year, the appeals court heard the appeal from Strange in Atlanta.