Alabama latest front in escalating States v. Indian casino conflict

Alabama-Indian-Casino-ConflictWhat’s going on between America’s native tribes and the governors of various states? Already this month, we’ve had two separate squabbles in New York involving the Seneca and St. Regis Mohawk nations withholding casino revenue sharing payments from Gov. David Paterson. Now the action has shifted south to Alabama, where Gov. Bob Riley’s tedious crusade against electronic bingo has identified a new infidel – the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ casinos and their whirring, beeping, digital death dealers.

With only three months before he vacates the governor’s mansion, Riley clearly wants to get his point across to the lone remaining state resident that doesn’t already understand he spent his time in office as the archenemy of all things gambling. But in seeking to close the Poarch Band’s three casinos, Riley seems just a bit confused over the issue of jurisdiction.

Riley’s forgotten that it’s the National Indian Gaming Commission in Washington, D.C. that regulates Indian gaming, and according to them, so long as the state allows bingo in any form, then the Poarch Band can offer the electronic version on its own territory. The state allows paper bingo, so Riley has no case. And soon, no public office.

However, it’s entirely possible that Riley may have his eye on an even higher office, as there’s been speculation that he may seek the Republican nomination for the Presidential election in 2012. Seen in that light, his senseless posturing makes a whole lot more sense.