Alabama-Coushatta to Build New Texas Casino After Scotus Ruling

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has announced it will build a new casino resort having won its longstanding battle with the state over the right to offer gaming on its lands 100 miles northeast of Houston.

The new casino resort is expected to dwarf the modest Naskila Casino, above, which, until SCOTUS sided with the tribes, the Alabama-Coushatta had been fighting for years to keep open. (Image: Naskila Casino)

While the tribe didn’t go into specific detail about the size of the proposed venue, it’s expected that it will dwarf its existing modest gaming hall, Naskila Casino. The tribe said it would offer a state-of-the-art casino floor, hotel accommodations, and diverse dining and entertainment options.

SCOTUS Ruling Changes Everything

Expansion has been made possible by a June 2023 ruling of the US Supreme Court. This determined that federal law doesn’t allow the state of Texas to stop the tribe from offering class II gaming, such as electronic bingo, on its reservation.

The Alabama-Coushatta and another tribe, the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, were engaged in a legal fight with the state over gaming for decades. That’s because the federal Texas Restoration Act (TRA), which recognized their sovereign status and restored their lands in 1986, contained a nongaming clause.

Two years later, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which codified tribal gaming and established a tribe’s right to offer class II gaming on its sovereign land.

The two tribes argued they were coerced into signing TRA because they believed it was their one shot at sovereignty. Meanwhile, Texas’ only other federally recognized tribe, the Kickapoo, has offered electronic bingo legally under IGRA for 25 years at its Lucky Eagle Casino. That’s because it was recognized by an act that didn’t contain a nongaming clause.

30-Year Fight

In 1994, the Fifth Circuit ruled that the tribes’ gaming rights were governed by TRA, which superseded IGRA in this case. Almost 30 years later, that decision was overturned by the highest court in the land.

Now, the Alabama-Coushatta are able to invest in expanding their gaming facilities because they no longer have to worry about state authorities shutting them down, as they did the Naskila Casino.

β€œWe are incredibly excited to embark on this new chapter,” said Ricky Sylestine, Tribal Council chairman, in a statement. β€œThis new casino resort will not only provide significant economic benefits for those living and working in the region, but it will also become a vibrant destination for visitors.

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