Tyson: No raiding Wind Creek

Published 8:05 pm Monday, February 22, 2010

By By Adam Prestridge
special to the standard

State gambling task force commander John Tyson said he isn’t planning to raid the Poarch Creek Indians’ Wind Creek Casino, but he does want to “knock on the door” of the Indian Gaming Commission during his fight against illegal gambling in Alabama.
The task force in January attempted to raid two facilities — VictoryLand in Shorter and Country Crossing in Dothan — but was stopped by a district court ruling. The Supreme Court ruled later that the lower courts did not have subject matter jurisdiction to halt the raids. Since, both facilities have closed, and workers have filing for unemployment.
Tyson said it is his mission to stop the non-Indian gaming facilities before tackling the issues that surround gaming among tribes.
PCI’s sites — in Atmore, Wetumpka and Tallapoosa County — are certified for being compliant with regulations set forth by the National Indian Gaming Commission, said Jay Dorris, president and CEO of PCI Gaming.
Dorris could not be reached for comment Friday, but earlier this month he said that Tyson “has no jurisdiction” to attempt to shut down Poarch’s casinos, including the $240 million resort Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore.
Tyson said he acknowledges the Indian Gaming Authority but believes later on in his quest to end illegal gambling in the state he could “influence” authorities.
But if those machines are declared illegal in Alabama, Tyson said that would change how the Indian casinos operate.
As for future raids, Tyson does not believe one will be necessary on the Indian gaming facilities.
Tyson said he does not necessarily believe Wind Creek would have to shut its doors, but he said Poarch would have to revert back to its old ways of operating, such as offering paper bingo.
Tyson said illegal gaming machines have taken many forms and names over the years — from telephone cards to redemption machines.