Casino helps county

Published 12:17 am Monday, January 12, 2009

By By Lisa Tindell – news editor
Tuesday's opening of Wind Creek Casino and Hotel near Atmore may mean more revenue for businesses throughout Escambia County. However, gaming has been the reason coffers for the Escambia County Commission have seen additional revenue for more than a year.
A $300,000 agreement between PCI and Escambia County officials was signed in October 2007 has added money to the general fund since the ink dried on the signatures.
Escambia County Commission Chairman David Stokes said the monthly checks began immediately after the signing of the agreement.
The funds received by Escambia County is part of an agreement with PCI that will see the funds paid to the county over a 36-month period. The initial agreement also stated a review of impacts would be conducted at the one-year anniversary of the opening of the new facility. The doors to Wind Creek Casino and Hotel opened last week near Atmore.
The funds paid to the county were originally meant to defray the cost of any impacts of the existing facility and the costs and expenses of lessening the impacts the county may incur as a result of PCI's development and operation of the facility. The funds were also meant to assist with the costs of any services the county may provide to PCI in respect to the facility. Costs of law enforcement and infrastructure were also considered in the agreement.
Stokes and other commissioners recently had an opportunity to tour the now-open facility. Stokes said it is evident PCI is making the most of the facility's image to the public.
The facility opened last week to a capacity crowd of visitors according to Buford Rolin, tribal chairman for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
The casino holds 1,600 electronic gaming machines in a 225,000 square foot facility. The building is also home to four restaurants and a conference center. The hotel will have 236 rooms available when the doors open later this month.