By Steve Flowers
Recently, an organization was formed with the name, “Poarch Creek Accountability Now.” This nonprofit group is headed by former 40-year veteran State Sen. Gerald Dial, who retired from the Alabama Senate in 2018.
The stated goal of this nonprofit group is to spread the true and accurate information about the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and their gaming revenue and expenditures. Dial says it is time to point out the unfairness of their operation. “They make billions upon billions in this state and pay zero in taxes,” Dial said. He said, and rightfully so, “that’s not right.”
“We just want to make sure that the general public is aware of the true facts about the Poarch Creek Indians. The PCI Gaming syndicate is using the vast revenues collected in Alabama on nontaxed gambling and using these Alabama dollars to purchase the Sands Casino in Pennsylvania for $1.3 billion and then the Alabama tribe would begin a $250 million renovation of their Pennsylvania Casino,” Dial added.
Dial says that while the Alabama Tribe makes this out-of-state $1.5 billion investment with Alabama money, the Pennsylvania casino will be taxed at a 16% onsite gaming fee and 54% of online profits.
It is no secret that during the past legislative session, the PCI lobbyists worked to kill a lottery bill that would have allowed Alabamians the right to vote on a lottery. It is good that Senator Dial and fair-minded Alabamians are shedding light on this unfair, and some say un-American, advantage and gravy train that the Poarch Creek casinos have acquired in our state. It is not only unfair, it is dangerous. The unimaginable profits being accumulated by these shadowy operations allow them to contribute large amounts of campaign money to legislative candidates, mostly incumbents, which in turn allows them to accumulate immense power politically. This is evidenced by their ability to kill Alabamians’ rights to vote to have a simple lottery.
These indian casinos were created by the Abramnoff and Scanlan corruption scandal. Several years ago, these two bagmen came to Washington with a Brinks’ truck full of money.
Congressional testimony indicates that it came from Las Vegas as their way of spreading these casinos nationwide. Scanlan and Abramnoff went to jail, but the indian casinos were granted asylum and sanctified their once native lands to open casino gambling operations.
They took full advantage of those new federal laws here in Alabama. Most of the land in the state prior to our statehood was occupied by the Creek Indians. History reveals that our Creek Indians were done wrong. What Andrew “Ole Hickory: Jackson did to the Creek Indians in Alabama was inhumane to say the least, and most would call it a barbaric massacre. How those few who survived his sword made it to Oklahoma was a miracle.
However, the Creeks were not the only ones slaughtered by “Ole Hickory” during that time frame. As soon as he got through with the Creeks, he traversed down the Mississippi River and did it tenfold to the British Red Coats in New Orleans in 1812. There were very few survivors of Jackson’s savage victory over the British. He made sure that the Indians and the British knew that this was the land of some tough new American frontiersmen, and they were led by one tough as nails, take-no-prisoners leader.
There are some folks with British ancestry who should be asking for some reparations after what Jackson did to their ancestors. The Creek Indians left in Alabama got their reparations from the Abramnoff/Scanlan Federal Deal. With that grant came some inherent federal protection from taxation along with their casinos. However, states like Alabama should not allow them to have a monopoly.
Let me give some legislators an idea on how to extract a little well-deserved penance from these greedy PCI gaming operations in the state. My guess is that the roads leading to their shiny, gold-plated, gambling palaces are state roads. What would be wrong with making those roads toll roads and charge a $100 fee to pass through to the casino and prohibit any other road being built parallel to our state toll road?
I bet that toll fee would give us the same amount of revenue as a lottery. You can bet your bottom dollar that Huey Long or Lyndon Johnson would take that approach to those arrogant, money-grubbing, power-mongering casinos.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.