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Alabama Awaits Poker Ruling

Alabama Awaits Poker Ruling 0001

Sweet home Alabama, could become a little sweeter to poker players from the state and surrounding areas as poker games could begin accrue large amounts of money for Indian reservations in the state.

According to Eddie Tullis, a council member and former tribe chairman for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) will decide whether to allow the live action by the end of December. The NIGC oversees all gaming activities on American Indian lands.

If the regulatory group decides that poker should be considered a Class II game, which is legal in Alabama, the tribe and future partner Harrah's Entertainment can go through with erecting a $120 million Indian Entertainment facility along the banks of the Coosa River in Wetumpka.

If the agency rules against licensing poker as a Class II game and makes it a Class III game, the tribe would have to seek a gaming compact with the state, something lawmakers have vowed to vote against.

According to a recent article in the Montgomery Advertiser, Tullis said, it looks as though things may go the tribe's way. "I think we are going to get a favorable ruling. I think we are going to get that ruling bfore the first of the year."

Tullis and other council members met with members of the commission and discussed possible outcomes with the commission. "They told us they have completed their draft opinion and are having it reviewed by the Justice Department," Tulluis said.

The Poarch tribe already owns three facilities located in Atmore, Weptumpka and Montgomery and is looking to the new site to boost the money the tribe makes from the casinos. The tribe became eligible for gambling on its properties in 1984, when the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs declared it a federally recognized tribe.

According to tribe officials, they believe the ruling will go favorably for them because they game would fall under the Class II distinction, since players would bet against each other and not the house.

The tribe is set to offer games at its Atmore facility if they get a favorable ruling. "We have everything ready. We are just waiting on the ruling," Tullis said.

Ed Note: The ruling is in. You can play at Pacific Poker

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