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U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Sides With Texas Over Gaming Issue

On August 20th, 2007, a federal court has put an end to gambling expansion plans at a tribal owned casino facility in Texas. The court decided the federal rules usurped the state's capability to prohibit or restrict gambling.

State leaders have been at odds with the U.S. Interior Department regarding the Kickapoo Indian tribe's plan to feature casino gaming at their casino facility at Eagle Pass located on the border of the state with Mexico.

Earlier this year, the department gave the Kickapoo Tribe temporary permission to expand their games from poker and bingo to include blackjack, keno, roulette and off-track betting on horse and dog races.

Both U.S. Senator John Cornyn and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, both from the Republican Party had opposed the U.S. Interior Department on their decision, saying that Texas' legal choice to challenge federal law was still undecided before the fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court favored the state, saying that the U.S. Interior Department's decision is against the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) which gives the state absolute authority to restrict tribal gambling. The federal act states that an Indian Tribe can feature the same games that can be found all over the state.

The state of Texas offers lottery and OTB on horse races and dog races. The Department's temporary approval letter stated that Texas' definition of lottery is wide enough to include casino table games except for slots.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn, who was responsible for closing down tribal casino when he was still the Attorney General of Texas, commented that states should have more power regarding gambling issues in their territory.

The Kickapoo Indian Tribe has been trying to expand their gambling operations for 10 years now. It is the only Indian tribe in Texas that has been allowed to open a limited casino facility.


10/14/2007 03:40 PM
Richard Kennedy