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Tribal chairman announces Poarch's casino, retail plans

By By ARTHUR McLEAN Special to The Standard
Wednesday Poarch Creek tribal chairman Eddie Tullis publicly laid out the tribe's casino and commercial retail plans, which could add 800-900 jobs.
At the Atmore Chamber of Commerce's Business Before Hours Tullis said the tribe plans to begin work on a large casino complex and hotel possibly before the end of the year.
A master plan for tribal land is coming together, and the tribe is in the process of selecting a developer for the property.
Tullis said the Best Western motel would probably stay even with the new development. "Some developers have told us we need two different kinds of hotels for the casino," Tullis said.
Tullis said increasing business at the bingo palace over the past three months and the new Carnival Cruise Line operating in Mobile should help the tribe's plans. "I want to get some of that business. I want those people coming to Mobile to stop here."
Tullis urged the audience to consider what else will be needed around the casino. "I ask, what kind of development do you want? What kinds of developments need to come to exit 57?"
When asked about the legality of poker games and expanded gaming, Tullis said gambling laws are changing fast and tribes in several states are fighting the powers of state governors to control gambling operations.
Despite announced plans to open a poker operation at the bingo palace by November, tribal officials are getting legal opinions on whether or not they can carry out the games.
In addition to the major development plans at exit 57, Tullis said the tribe is planning to build a major travel center at exit 54.
Other ideas Tullis tossed to the audience were expanded golfing in the area, a water park and developing a major wildlife resort area along Escambia Creek.
Once construction begins on the casino/hotel complex, it could be completed in 12 – 15 months.