Texas Battle for Bingo Lost by Alabama-Coushatta Tribe

The State of Texas won the issue regarding a bingo entity of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. The tribe had a bingo hall about 80 miles outside of Houston. A Federal judge on Tuesday, February 6, 2018, ruled that the facility will need to close. The Naskila Bingo hall is not complying with Texas regulations and gaming laws. The judge did say he was sympathetic to the tribe’s woes, but this did not stop the judge’s ruling.
Keith Giblin, the US Magistrate in the case, said there are conflicts with the statutory regulations of Texas and it is unjust to allow the Bingo hall to continue operations considering the situation.

The Gaming Act of 1988

The tribe felt it was able to follow the Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, which permits the tribe to hold a class II gaming license, meaning bingo and poker can occur on the premises. The act allows any tribe federally recognized to have this permit without the need for the state compact, as long as the land the casino is on is sovereign or tribe owned.

The Alabama-Coushattas became recognized in 1987 by the federal government. It is a year before the 1988 act, which allowed Indian Gaming. The trouble is a different act. The Restoration Act states with the return of the land and a federal relationship with the government, a tribe cannot have gaming locations when prohibited by the Texas laws.

The tribe was hoping for a similar situation to the one that works for the Kickapoo Tribe. It is also a Texas tribe, which became recognized in 1985 by the federal government. They have been running a class II facility close to the Rio Grande Border. This tribe has been able to do so for 20 years.

The Kickapoo Tribe has a much more significant location than the Alabama-Coushattas. Unfortunately, it is the Restoration Act that does not permit them to run the casino. The tribe contends they had to sign the agreement not to operate a casino under duress due to a fear that they would be blocked from being Federally recognized. However, their legal standing on such a matter is thirty years in the past. If they had attempted to do something with a change of government after 1987, then they may have been able to get around the legal issues of the casino. But, the issue of duress did not come up until now, when they are trying to gain legal casino operations. The tribe will appeal the matter.

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