Poarch Creek Indians’ McGhee: Del Marsh’s comprehensive gaming proposal ‘a good attempt’ — Says ‘some minor changes’ to be worked out
For the first time in this young millennium, Alabama is approaching a breakthrough on gaming that has had its share of ups and downs dating back to the rise and fall of Phenix City, a haven in the mid-1900s for vice, including gambling.
Alabama last came close to a lottery in the late 1990s under then-Gov. Don Siegelman, but it was defeated at the ballot box. Since then, gaming in the Yellowhammer State has been governed by a system of patchwork agreements and statutes. However, last week State Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston) unveiled his comprehensive proposal that would define the terms of gaming in a mutually agreed-upon way for the entire state.
During an interview with Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5, Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) governmental relations advisor Robbie McGhee applauded Marsh’s proposal. Given the PCI’s gaming presence on tribal land within Alabama, governed by federal and not state law, PCI is considered a major player with unique leverage in the final agreement.
McGhee told FM Talk 106.5’s “The Jeff Poor Show” he saw a few “minor changes” that were warranted and credited Gov. Kay Ivey gaming commission for playing a role in potentially reaching an agreement.
“I’m just happy Senator Marsh was able to do this,” he said. “I appreciate the hard work he’s put into this over the years. And you know we’ve been dealing with this and trying our best to have a gaming culture that works best for the state. And you know, I believe this is a good attempt. I think it is now something with the lottery included, the regulatory body included, and now the limitation on the number of sites, and also the compact with the tribe — I just think it is a good deal. I do believe there are some minor changes, things like that probably need to be worked out. But I don’t see why they can’t be.”
“I think one of the things that helped though is just getting the time the governor asked for, you know, for the study commission to do their report, to do their study,” McGhee added. “We were glad to participate in that, and other operators and such were participating. I think it was just time for something after that report was released back in December, I believe it was. And knowing the governor wanted to have some funds for broadband and rural health, and long with Senator Marsh — these are issues that need to be addressed, especially having the education lottery. I think everybody has been listening. It was time to just come together and figure out what’s the best proposal that works for the state.”
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.