By: Justin Schuver
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has sent a request for a Tribal-State gaming compact to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, which could allow PCI to operate casino-style gaming facilities in northern Escambia County, Fla.
Tribal Chairman Buford L. Rolin made the request in a letter sent March 24 to Scott’s office in Tallahassee, Fla. Rolin said the tribe is asking for the compact in order for PCI to “conduct any Class III gaming activity which is played or may be played in the State of Florida, including, but not limited to, banked card games.”
Class III gaming includes most games commonly played at casinos, including slot machines, blackjack and other table games. PCI’s Wind Creek Casino in Atmore only features Class II gaming machines, which are based on bingo. Class III games are not permitted under Alabama state law.
The only existing Tribal-State compact in Florida is with the Seminole Indian tribe, which operates casinos in central and south Florida.
In the letter, Rolin said that the tribe’s land in Escambia County, Fla., is eligible for a compact because it meets the definition of “Indian lands” under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Rolin said the tribe’s negotiating team will be led by Jay Dorris, president/CEO of PCI Gaming Authority; Arthur Mothershed, general manager of the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore; and Lori Stinson, attorney general for PCI.
“We would like to meet with your designated negotiations team as soon as possible,” Rolin wrote. “It is our hope that a compact can be negotiated quickly.”
Dorris told The Advance that the land in question is approximately one acre and is located in Nokomis, Fla., at the intersection of Nokomis Road and North Pineville Road.
He said the tribe had not received a response from Scott’s office, as of Tuesday afternoon.
“We believe our letter to the governor lays out our request and why we feel we are entitled to negotiate our own compact with the state of Florida,” Dorris said. “The tribe’s land is in Escambia County (Fla.) and was put into trust status on behalf of the tribe when they were first federally recognized.
“The Poarch Band of Creek Indians are a federally recognized tribe with land in trust in Florida and as such we look forward to discussing our options with the state.”