At least there is no gambling in Alabama, except in the 3 places there is….

Can we please get a break from gambling and casino talk?

Please.

Apparently not, based on a story sent to me by Dr. Jess Brown…

The U.S. Department of the Interior this week brushed aside questions from Escambia County officials about the legitimacy of Alabama Indian land, where highly successful casinos eventually could have to close if their federally regulated status were removed.

In a terse, two-paragraph letter, Donald Laverdure, acting assistant secretary of Indian affairs for the federal department, confirmed that Poarch Band of Creek Indian land in Alabama remains under federal jurisdiction.

Why?

In April, David Stokes, the chairman of the Escambia County Commission, wrote a letter to the Interior Department asking whether the land should still fall under federal rules and control after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the department’s approval of new land for a Rhode Island tribe in the 2009 Carcieri v. Salazar case.

The commission is seeking millions of dollars in taxes annually from the tribe and maintains that the county’s objective is not to stop the gambling operations.

So they don’t want gambling in the state but they want the tax dollars from federally allowed Indian casinos?

Seems like a bit of a stretch.

Here comes a double-dipping politician…

Stokes and the commission’s attorney, Prattville Republican state Sen. Bryan Taylor, on Wednesday criticized the department’s letter as vague and unresponsive to their questions.

“Not surprisingly, the letter appears to have been artfully worded by federal bureaucrats to avoid taking an explicit official position on Carcieri,” Taylor said in a written statement. “Instead, the letter seems to recite facts that nobody disputes and leaves the crux of the legal issue unanswered.”

Here is where it gets sticky…

“The (Poarch Band of Creek Indian’s) reservation, including the portion of the reservation that is situated within the geographical boundary of Escambia County, Alabama, is held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the band,” Laverdure’s letter said.

“As such, the band enjoys all rights and privileges associated with having its reservation held in trust by the United States under federal law.”

Among those rights and privileges, traditionally, is offering slots-like electronic bingo machines on tribal land and not paying state and local taxes that most others in the county must pay.

But are they an official tribe?

In the Carcieri case, the Supreme Court blocked an attempt to create new Indian lands in Rhode Island, ruling that the secretary of the interior did not have the authority to place lands into federal trust for tribes recognized after the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.

The Poarch tribe was recognized in 1984, and Stokes argued that, as a result, the federal government did not have the authority to put land in a federal trust for the tribe.

If they aren’t a tribe, then they are in Alabama. Riight?

That is the argument.

And if that was the case they would be subject to our laws.

Didn’t the Alabama Supreme Court rule that these games were not bingo and create a six step test? The AG says they did

“This is not about whether I believe gambling is good or bad,” said Attorney General Strange. “This is about the rule of law, pure and simple. When the Alabama Supreme Court makes a ruling, it is my job and my duty to uphold the rule of law. The Alabama Supreme Court has been crystal clear about what is legal in Alabama when it comes to so-called ‘electronic bingo’,” said Attorney General Luther Strange.

“The only form of bingo authorized by any amendment to the Alabama Constitution is the traditional game commonly known as bingo. The six mandatory characteristics of bingo set forth by the Alabama Supreme Court in the 2010 Cornerstone case, which plainly requires that the human elements of the traditional game of bingo must be fully preserved in order for a game to potentially qualify as legal bingo, will be strictly followed. Slot machines and other illegal gambling devices cannot be used to play bingo, period. My office, along with other state and local law enforcement agencies, has been aggressive in investigating and shutting down illegal gambling operations since I took office in January 2011, and absolutely nothing has changed.” said Attorney General Strange.

Oh well, the state can’t do anything…

The state’s Indian casinos have thrived in the meantime, tallying the nation’s fastest-growing revenue from 2008 to 2010, the most recent year for which information is available.

But all three gambling halls — Creek Casino Montgomery, Creek Casino Wetumpka and Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Escambia County, the tribe’s largest venue — could go the way of their shuttered competitors if anti-gambling state officials were granted the power to regulate them.

The funny part of all of this is Escambia County just wants the money…

While commission officials maintain that they are not trying to close Wind Creek, the Riley administration viewed the Carcieri case as a possible way to stop Indian gambling in Alabama.

Paying taxes to the county would resolve Escambia’s objections, Taylor said. Taylor said he hasn’t yet discussed with county officials taking the case to court, but he acknowledged that doing so could be a “threat to the existence of the casino.”

It seems that they are attempting to extort the tribe.

There is a more reasonable solution that will never ever happen. Pass a legit gambling bill, one that does not have specific casinos carved out for legislator’s friends and allies.

They could then regulate and tax the crap out of  them and the state can benefit from the idiots plunking their money down.

This will never happen, so the Indians will continue to operate in Alabama and our residents will continue to spend their money there.

But hey, at least we don’t have gambling in Alabama, right?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: