Frequently Asked Questions About HR 759 – A Bill Pending in Congress Regarding Indian Gaming

What is House Resolution 759?

H.R. 759 – Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Equal and Fair Opportunity Settlement Act – authored by Congressman Brian Babin of Texas.

H.R. 759 is 19 words long and reads: “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to preclude or limit the applicability of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.).”

 

What are the highligts of H.R. 759?

  • Provides for the equal and fair opportunity for tribal economic development in the State of Texas;
  • Corrects conflicting congressional statutes stemming from the 1987 Restoration Act and the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act;
  • Allows for the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo to conduct electronic bingo and only electronic bingo on their reservations;
  • DOES NOT allow Class III Vegas style gaming such as table and card games; under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act-Class III Gaming requires a compact with the state, 25 U.S.C. § 2701(3).

 

Who authored H.R. 759?

In January 2019, U.S. Representative Brian Babin (R-TX) introduced H.R. 759.  There are currently 24 co-sponsors, including 7 from the Texas delegation.  There are 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats among these co-sponsors.

Is the State of Texas challenging gaming on Tribal lands?

Yes. The State of Texas filed a legal challenge to Naskila Gaming. The Attorney General of the State of Texas has asked a Federal District Court to find that under the Tribe’s Restoration Act of 1987, the Alabama-Coushatta cannot offer gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulation Act (IGRA), passed in 1988.

How Can I Show Support for the Tribe and HR 759?

You can email your elected officials and tell them of your support for HR 759 by going to the home page now.

Will Naskila Gaming remain open during the legal proceedings?

Yes. The Alabama-Coushatta will continue to operate the Naskila Gaming facility. The state may be seeking a permanent closure, but until there is a court ruling affirming the state’s allegations, the Alabama-Coushatta will continue to operate the facility. Prior to Naskila’s opening, Tribal Council directed the Tribal Attorneys to begin communicating with the Texas Attorney General’s Office and a Pre-Litigation Agreement between the Tribe and the Attorney General’s Office was reached which will allow Naskila Gaming to remain open during court proceedings. This is not the same legal case it was in 2001-2002. The Alabama-Coushatta are now operating the bingo gaming facility pursuant to federal authorization similar to Tribes all over the country. The bingo revenue derived from Naskila Gaming is providing much needed funding for vital Tribal government programs.

When did the Naskila Gaming facility open for business?

May 17, 2016 – The Naskila Entertainment Center opens its doors for business. June 2, 2016 – Grand Opening CelebrationGrandOpening

Alabama-Coushatta Response to 5th Circuit Ruling

(Livingston, Texas, March 14, 2019) – Statement by Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas in response to ruling {No. 18-40116} issued by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on March 14, 2019., by Cecilia Flores, Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Council Chairperson.

 “The Alabama-Coushatta will file a petition to have our case heard by the entire Fifth Circuit.We stand ready to appeal any adverse ruling to the United States Supreme Court as well.”

“There are 371 full-time jobs at stake and we have a moral obligation to fight for every one of the people working at Naskila Gaming.  Our alcohol-free facility is making a significant difference in the lives of East Texans and we will continue to pursue every legal avenue to continue operating Naskila Gaming on our Tribal lands.”

“Naturally we are disappointed by the ruling of the three-judge panel, but the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe remains committed to protecting our sovereign rights and the people whose livelihood depends on this facility.”

Overview of State of Texas Legal Challenge

In 2015, the National Indian Gaming Commission (“NIGC”) determined that the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas (“the Tribe”) and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (“the Pueblo”) were permitted to offer Class II electronic bingo under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”).  In reaching its decision, the NIGC undertook the analysis required by IGRA before approving any tribe’s Class II gaming ordinance. (Read More)

Valuable Links

National Indian Gaming Commission

Update on Legal Challenge

Economic Impact of Naskila Gaming