State sues Alabama-Coushatta tribe over casino

Here we go again.

A new legal salvo was fired this week in the state’s long-running battle against Indian gambling with a filing in federal court that seeks to close the gaming hall on the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation.

A motion for contempt and injunctive relief was filed Monday by Attorney General Ken Paxton, claiming that the Naskila Entertainment Center, which has offered electronic bingo since reopening in May, violates an existing court injunction.

It asks that the small East Texas tribe be ordered to halt the gaming operation, remove all gaming equipment and pay a civil penalty of $10,000 a day from June 2 until all gaming ceases.

On Tuesday, the log cabin-style hall on the 10,000-acre reservation in the Piney Woods east of Livingston was still open to the gaming public.

“We definitely think we’re in the right. The federal government and the National Indian Gaming Commission gave us the authority, so we think we’re on good legal grounds,” said tribal spokesman Carlos Bullock after conferring Tuesday with members of the tribal council.


The legal landscape for the Tigua and Alabama-Coushatta appeared to improve last year when both the Interior Department and the NIGC issued administrative opinions that the two small tribes could offer certain types of gaming.

But earlier this year, the state won a marathon legal battle with the Tigua when a federal judge in El Paso ruled that the tribe’s entertainment center was really a thinly disguised gambling hall.

The Tigua now plan on offering permitted bingo-hall-style games that are legal in Texas.

In ordering the Tigua to cease offering “sweepstakes,” U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone also ruled that federal case law, which prohibited the gaming, trumped the opinions of the two federal agencies.

See here, here, and here for some background. This action by the state was completely expected, given past litigation and the noises the AG’s office had been making since the casino reopened. Both the Alabama-Coushatta and the Tigua tribes had tried again with their casinos under new administrative guidelines from the National Indian Gaming Commission, but the subsequent loss in court by the Tigua does not bode well for the Alabama-Coushatta. We’ll see how it goes.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Jackpot!, Legal matters and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to State sues Alabama-Coushatta tribe over casino

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Denying casino gambling in Texas is wrong, period, a last vestige of the Blue Laws, no doubt. Having said that, either Indian reservations are sovereign territory, or they aren’t. Seems like they are, since they sell untaxed gasoline, and tobacco.

    Regardless of our Texas prohibitions on gambling, the Indians ought to be able to build casinos. What? They are sovereign enough to sell untaxed cigarettes, but not sovereign enough to open gambling parlors? Really?

    Of course, all this unpleasantness could be avoided in the first place if we just ended the convoluted quasi prohibition on gambling in Texas once and for all. Given our current Moral Majority leaders, though, I won’t hold my breath.

    This is a problem that should have been solved by Mark White or Ann Richards, back in the day. Dems are supposed to lead on social issues, right?

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Final thought:

    This would be a great issue for the next Dem gubernatorial candidate to run on, legalizing casino gambling. People with gambling problems are going to have problems anyway, might as well make it legal and collect taxes on it, rather than sending that tax money and those legal jobs to Louisiana.

Comments are closed.