Democrats in Alabama’s House of Representatives say it’s time for the state to consider legalized gambling as an additional source of revenue.
House Democrats revealed their legislative agenda yesterday. It includes creating a state lottery and urging Gov. Bentley to negotiate a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The tribe would be allowed to operate table games without interference in exchange for giving the state a share of the revenue.
House Minority Leader Craig Ford said Alabama’s voters deserve the chance to vote on a state lottery.
The Poarch Creek Indians say Wind Creek Wetumpka features 85,000 square feet of casino space with more than 2,500 electronic games. A centerpiece of the new casino is a 16,000-gallon shark tank. The property includes five restaurants, as well as a 20-story hotel that will start opening in stages. The ribbon cutting is set for 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The new hotel and casino replace a smaller casino in Wetumpka. The $246 million attraction is larger than the tribe's Wind Creek Atmore, which had featured the state's largest casino.
The state teachers' organization, a mining company and an Indian tribe that operates casinos are among the top campaign contributions in Alabama for next year's elections.
Campaign finance records show the Alabama Education Association has donated $770,000 to candidates since June. AEA Executive Secretary Henry Mabry said the group is donating to Democrats and Republicans who support public education.
The Birmingham-based Drummond Co. has donated $489,000. That included $25,000 donations to both Gov. Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange.
Gambling operators say the state is overstepping its bounds by trying to shut down four casinos in Alabama.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians says the state lacks the power to shut down its three electronic bingo operations in Atmore, Montgomery and Wetumpka.
The state filed suit Tuesday claiming the gambling centers are illegal.
And an attorney for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor says the state's raid on the east Alabama casino is improper. McGregor lawyer Joe Espy says no court has ever ruled that VictoryLand's machines are illegal.