Texas Tribe announces plans for a second casino resort

A line of slots in a casino
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The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe has announced plans for a new casino resort on its tribal lands in Texas.

Although final details are yet to be finalized, the tribe confirmed that the new resort may offer a variety of amenities including a state-of-the-art casino floor, hotel accommodations, and dining and entertainment options.

“We are incredibly excited to embark on this new chapter,” said Tribal Council Chairman Ricky Sylestine. “This new casino resort will not only provide significant economic benefits for those living and working in the region but will also become a vibrant destination for visitors.”

This will be the tribe’s second venue, as it already owns and operates the Naskila Casino in Livingston, Texas.

Tribes fight for the right to operate Texas casinos

The Alabama-Coushatta tribe has had to fight to earn the right to operate casino resorts on its tribal land.

Although most forms of gambling are prohibited in Texas, the Kickapoo Tribe was permitted to operate a casino under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act 1988.

Even though the law broadly allows federally recognized tribes in the U.S. to offer gambling on their reservation lands, the Alabama-Coushatta tribe and Tigua tribe faced opposition when they tried to open casinos in the 1990s and early 2000s. 

This was due to the wording of the Restoration Act 1987, which officially reinstated the pair as federally recognized tribes, as it stated that any gaming prohibitions in state law should also apply to the tribes on their land.

The tribes were forced to close their venues due to the fear of state enforcement and only reopened in 2016.

In June 2022 the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the tribes 5-4 and reaffirmed their right to regulate gambling activities regardless of state laws, which paved the way for the pair to offer gambling at their venues via electronic bingo machines.

No sports betting until at least 2025

Despite gaining the 100 votes needed to move forward in the house, any hopes of expanding sports betting in the state last year were quashed when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pushed the cause by the wayside in the Senate.

HJR102 was introduced by Democrats and at the time Patrick said that as a policy Texas Republicans do not move on measures with a Democratic majority.

Although unsuccessful in 2023, proponents of sports betting in Texas are now even more intent on fulfilling their aim in 2025, the next year that the Texas legislature will meet. 

Speaking via the Texas Sports Betting Alliance, former Gov. Rick Perry said that Texans should be allowed to have the choice when it comes to gambling expansion within the state.

“We know that Texans want the freedom and liberty that our great state is known for, to participate in sports betting legally and safely,” said Perry in the announcement. “Texans deserve the chance to vote on legalizing sports betting and we will continue working to put this initiative on the ballot in 2025.

A poll by the University of Texas at the start of 2023 found that 75% of the 1,200 people polled backed gambling expansion within Texas.