Richard Thornton | Aug 9, 2017 | 5
Apparently, all Native American tribes will be allowed to compete for casinos in Georgia
Of course, the legislation, legalizing casinos in Georgia, is still being “studied,” but there is one positive aspect to the story for tribes, who are in the casino business. The proposed legislation will require a developer to invest at least $200 million into a casino in order to receive a permit from the state. However, no longer would any interested Native American tribe be required to get the approval of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
That means both federal and state recognized tribes could compete for casino permits. Also, they would not have to own the land for five years prior to development as required now by the BIA. The tribe would be evaluated as a potential owner-operator only.
Both the Muscogee Creek Nation and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama own and operate their casinos. In fact, the Poarch Creeks are now in the business of developing and operating casinos for other tribes. The big hurdle for smaller tribes or Creek tribal towns getting into competition would be the financial muscle required to secure $200 million in financing.
PostScript: Personally, I think gambling is stupid, but obviously a lot of other people don’t, and . . . let’s face it . . . casinos have drastically changed the finances of many federally recognized tribes.
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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.
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