The Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) has called a recent lawsuit filed against the tribe one of “no legal merit.”
Tuesday, February 19, PCI issued a statement in answer to a lawsuit filed earlier that day by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. The suit was filed in an effort to shut down all gambling operations currently run by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI), according to a press release issued by the AG’s office.
Strange said that he decided to file the lawsuit after his other efforts to stop the Poarch Tribe’s gambling activities failed and because state officers cannot seize gambling devices on Indian land.
The lawsuit is only part of an effort undertaken to eradicate gambling in the State of Alabama. A raid was made and machines were seized at VictoryLand Casino in Macon County the same day as the suit against PCI was filed. Strange has also petitioned the state legislature to make the operation of gaming machines a felony in the state. According to Strange, the current law only provides for a, “slap-on-the-wrist misdemeanor charge.”
Following is PCI response to the AG’s lawsuit: The lawsuit filed today [February 19] by Luther Strange has no legal merit. First, as a federally recognized sovereign Indian nation, Poarch Creek’s land is governed by federal, not state law. While we respect Mr. Strange’s attempts to fulfill his duties as State Attorney General, he is not a federal official and therefore, has no jurisdiction or enforcement authority over tribal land or tribal gaming operations. Secondly, the machines that are in use at all of PCI Gaming’s casinos are electronic bingo (Class II gaming machines) and are legal under federal law. While Mr. Strange may target VictoryLand and any other gaming facility in the State, this lawsuit against Poarch filed in Circuit Court is yet another example of Mr. Strange refusing to recognize the sovereignty of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.”