Alabama Casino Being Considered - Monday 23rd of January 2006

In five to 10 years, Fort Payne could have a large casino and be well on its way to being a major tourist destination.

"So DeKalb County resident David Hammonds told the Fort Payne Kiwanis Club at its meeting on Wednesday morning.Hammonds, of Ider, owns 69 acres of land adjacent to an ancient Indian burial site in north Fort Payne, just off U.S. 11. He plans to deed that land to the Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians sometime this week, who claim Fort Payne as their ancestral home and say the burial site is specific to their tribe.

"The Keetoowah, now based in Oklahoma, operate a casino there and the Hammonds' plan to deed the land to the tribe has opened the door to discussion about the possibility of legalized Indian-sponsored gaming in Fort Payne.

"…Keetoowah tribal leaders visited the site on Wednesday, at which time they said their initial focus would be on developing a park and tribal cultural center, but said gaming is something that could come, once the legalities have been worked out.

"…Hammonds said he believes the Keetoowah could operate a Vegas-style casino under a compact with the state, but experts say that would require a change in state law…"

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