Poarch Creek Tribal Chair Bryan on ‘billion-dollar’ gaming proposal: ‘We have always been open to negotiate’
MONTGOMERY — For some time now, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians have been promoting their “Winning for Alabama” gaming proposal on various mediums throughout Alabama, which as advertised would give the state of Alabama $1 billion upfront and at least $350 million annually beyond that.
During a sit-down interview that aired on Huntsville radio’s WVNN, Poarch Creek Indians Tribal Chair & CEO Stephanie Bryan elaborated on that proposal, noting that this push would be contingent on whatever compact was negotiated with the state. However, she said the Poarch Creeks were willing to negotiate beyond this current proposal.
“The Department of Interior would be the compact negotiations, and that is all part of the billion-dollar package,” Bryan said to “The Jeff Poor Show.” “I think that is the point that people are missing. Right now, we are the only game in town that has provided a lucrative plan that will generate $1 billion in revenue the first year, and $350 million every year after that, plus whatever revenue the lottery will generate after that as well. People think it is that one-time $1 billion, but it is not. It is reoccurring.”
Bryan argued for so-called “destination resorts,” which have been proposed in Birmingham and a location in northeastern Alabama, either in Jackson, Dekalb or Cherokee Counties.
She also insisted the Poarch Band of Creek Indians would be willing to negotiate on the proposal, adding that thus far, no one else has offered a proposal despite pledging to provide one.
“We have always been open to negotiate for the past decade,” Bryan said. “I’ve been in leadership since 2006 and served as a vice-chair. The state has talked about gaming for that many years. We have always been open. We were told two years ago someone was going to bring a plan to the table, and it never made it to the table. So, we see the importance of bringing a plan, and we brought a lucrative plan to the table. I’m not sure where the other operators are, what those true discussions are taking place — but all I know is the Poarch Band of Creek Indians has offered a lucrative plan that will protect the integrity of gaming, that will generate $1 billion in the first year to the state of Alabama, $350 million after that. It could be more than $350 million if we build the destination resorts — it could be more than $350 million, plus the state would get the revenues off of a clean lottery.”
Bryan expressed her optimism and vowed that she and her organization were equipped to deal with the regulatory side of the gaming issue.
“I want to be really optimistic,” she said. “When you talk about $1 billion that is generated in one year, and then the revenue that it would generate year after year after year, you would think there would be a lot of people optimistic to say, ‘Hey, this is a great plan for the state. We know how to operate gaming. We’ve done it, and we’ve done it well. I used to be a regulator myself. I served on our tribal gaming commission. I presented regulations to the National Indian Gaming Commission in Washington, D.C., to protect the integrity of gaming. We know how to do it, and we know how to do it right. Therefore, we want to be of assistance to the state of Alabama and do what we can to generate as much revenue as we possibly can in the state.”