The nation's top federal regulator for Indian gaming has once again confirmed that the Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indian's gaming businesses are operating legally within Alabama and are subject to federal, not state, laws.
a letter last month, Eric Shepard, the National Indian Gaming Commission's
acting general counsel, issued a pointed rebuke to claims made by Alabama
Attorney General Luther Strange that his office has legal authority over the tribe's
gaming operations, according to a press release provided by the tribe.
his letter, Shepard clearly states "federal, not state, law applies to
gaming within the Poarch Band's Indian lands and the NIGC, not the state, has
jurisdiction over that gaming."
Creek's Attorney General Venus McGhee Prince responded to Shepard's letter
saying, “We have always been careful to follow the laws governing Indian
gaming. No one is more concerned about conducting our business the right way
than we are, and we are hopeful that this will end any further discussion on
his letter, Shepard noted that this was the second time in two years that NIGC
has written Alabama elected officials in an effort to clarify regulatory
authority. A similar letter was sent in March of 2011. “Though I believe that
letter thoroughly articulated the NIGC’s authority over Indian gaming on Indian
lands, the recent action taken by your office against the Poarch Band of Creek
Indians, as well as subsequent statements in press releases and newspaper
editorials, gives me cause to reiterate that federal, not state law, applies,” wrote
National Indian Gaming Commission was established as part of the Indian Gaming
Regulatory Act, which Congress passed in 1988 and then-President Ronald Reagan
signed into law. The NIGC serves as a federal regulatory authority for gaming
on Indian lands.
Counsel Shepard included copies of specific IGRA statues in his letter to
Strange and closed by stating unequivocally that “The Poarch Band is a federally
recognized Indian tribe ... the Poarch Band may operate bingo, as defined by
IGRA, on its Indian lands...”
Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the only federally recognized Indian tribe in
the state of Alabama, operating as a sovereign nation with its own system of
government and bylaws. Poarch Creek Indian Gaming manages three gaming
facilities in Alabama, including: Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore;
Creek Casino in Wetumpka; and, Creek Casino in Montgomery. The Poarch Band of
Creek Indians is an active partner in the state of Alabama, contributing to
economic, educational, social and cultural projects benefiting both tribal
members and residents of these local communities and neighboring towns.
Fed reconfirms its authority over Alabama gaming tribe, OKs bingo offerings
April 16, 2013