In a state that is known for having some of the strictest gaming laws in America, a Native American tribe recently won a big court decision in a decades-long legal battle. The Tiguas, or as they’re formerly known, the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo can now legally conduct bingo at their Speaking Rock Entertainment Center per recent reports. Following a 4-5 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court a few weeks ago, the Tiguas won the right to have gambling in their establishments on Texan ground. According to one report, this was a big win for the Tiguas, but there are still a few more hoops to jump through before the group is truly off and running.
In this article, SBS will go over some of the highlights from this latest development and also share some more notes on gaming in Texas.
Per sources, with this new landmark decision going in favor of the Tiguas in Texas, there are still some nuances to work out. For instance, while the tribe can now conduct gambling activities at their site in the Lone Star State, their gaming activities will be regulated by the National Indian Gaming Commission. This is par for the course for Native American tribes in America where virtually every group that utilizes gaming as an income source falls under NGIC regulation. Per one report, the Tiguas would now fall under this regulation umbrella. In fact, only two tribes in the entire U.S. are currently not under the regulation of the NGIC.
According to one update, this victory for the Native American tribe means a victory for existing gaming, not necessarily expansion. Moreover, the Tiguas tribe utilize electronic bingo machines, which have come under controversy since Texas lawyers say they function in a similar capacity to slot machines. However, a Supreme Court ruling already addressed this issue by saying “if “good governance requires a different set of rules, its appeals are better directed to those who make the laws than those charged with following them.” Basically saying that the overall governance and regulation of gaming is the most important element of keeping organizations compliant.
With this new court decision going in favor of the Tiguas tribe, it would now open the door for another group, the Alabama-Coushatta tribe, to move closer to NGIC governance. As of this article’s writing, there are only two tribes in the entire country that have their gaming regulated by a state government. With these new decisions, the tribes would be able to hold gaming activities whereas in the past they were banned from doing so as long as they fell under Texas state law. The Tiguas’ rights have been the center of some of hotly contested battles over the years, but with this new Supreme Court decision it might open up some new avenues to gaming expansion down the road.
With these decisions coming into play, this further illustrates the ambiguity in Texas gaming law that some groups are still trying to get away from. As one article pointed out, bingo games are regulated and not banned in Texas making it clear that there are indeed provisions in Texas law about holding bingo games in a legal fashion. Nonetheless, the Tiguas tribe will now have a more clear avenue to gaming expansion under NGIC governance as opposed to Texas state rules.
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