It's been more than a decade since the State of Texas forced the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe to shutter its casino in 2002.
Following last fall's ruling by the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) that the Alabama-Coushatta and the Ysleta Tigua in El Paso could legally offer bingo and electronic bingo on their reservations, the Alabama-Coushatta tribe is once again running a gaming facility on its reservation in East Texas, located roughly an hour-and-a-half drive from Houston.
The tribe's new Naskila Entertainment, housing 300 new bingo machines, opened in Livingston on June 2.
The issue now at stake is U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone's recent ruling against the Tigua tribe's request to drop a court ordered injunction against gaming on their West Texas reservation, neglecting NIGA's decision in fall 2015. The same legal reasoning could potentially be applied to the Alabama-Coushatta, if the state wanted to shut down the new bingo establishment. Plus there's a provision provision in the the Alabama-Coushatta Restoration Act that places the reservation under the Texas gambling laws, Indianz.com reported.
After a 14-year absence from gaming, hope is alive on the Alabama-Coushatta reservation. Thus far the casino has created about 200 jobs, and the tribe intends to put revenues to expand programs and services on the reservation. "Employees are due to start collecting their first paychecks and the entire reservation is buzzing with new energy, as we've previously reported. It's hard to imagine they'd just close their doors and let the casino go dark again," The Houston Press reported.
Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), however, isn't speaking about the state's potential move, according to The Houston Press. Spokeswoman Teresa Farfan told the publication via email that his office would "not be issuing a comment or statement on this matter."