Tribal Casino to Open Doors in Texas Early in 2016

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas is planning to launch a casino on a 10,000-acre parcel of reservation land not far from Livingston, Texas early in 2016. The tribe received federal approval to provide Class II gaming late in October.

Carlos Bullock, a spokesperson for the tribe, told media that the gambling venue would be a really good thing for tribal members. The clan has been struggling financially since 2002 when its first casino was closed by the state. Mr. Bullock added that when the venue was operational, the tribe generated more than $1 million each month and that its closure was simply devastating as huge revenue and numerous jobs were lost.

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe was forced to shutter the facility after it lost its legal battle with Texas lawmakers who argued that a state law forbidding casino gambling within state’s borders trumped a nationwide Indian gambling law.

However, in October, the U.S. Department of the Interior as well as the National Indian Gaming Commission gave the tribe the nod to operate Class II gambling machines on reservation land. Essentially, those are very similar to traditional slot machines but feature electronic bingo games instead.

As mentioned above, the positive outcome came after a particularly long legal battle aimed at pitting a nationwide Indian law, under which Indian nations are sovereign and have the authority to run casinos on reservation land, despite the state of Texas’ attempts to prevent this from happening.

Tribal officials revealed that they have expressed interest in meeting state Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott in order to discuss the matter. Both Mr. Paxton and Gov. Abbott’s offices refused to comment.

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe was not the only Texas-based tribe to receive federal approval for the operation of a casino last month. The Tigua Indians of Texas were given the nod, too, and are planning to open a gambling venue anytime soon. Both tribes have previously operated casinos, which have turned out to be quite profitable.

Unlike the above-mentioned two clans, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas has been running a gambling venue in Eagle Pass for some time now. The difference between the three tribes is that the former two gained their federal recognition in 1987. At that time, a state law stipulated that Indian nations were not allowed anything that the rest of the residents of Texas were banned from. This meant that members of the tribes were not allowed to gamble at casinos and to provide gambling operations.

The Kickapoos, however, gained federal recognition a bit earlier, when that same law was not effective.

The Alabama-Coushattas are planning to launch their Class II facility early in 2016. It will be located at the site of their former casino and will feature about 300 gambling machines. Tribal officials said that about 150 people will be employed at the venue.

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