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Bill would legalize Texas Indian casinos

February 20, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas – A legislative bill was filed Tuesday to allow the Tigua tribe in El Paso and the Alabama-Coushatta tribe in Livingston to reopen their casinos. The bill was filed by Rep. Norma Chavez, an El Paso Democrat, to exempt the tribes from prosecution for limited casino gambling. It is the Indian gambling defense to prosecution bill HB 1308.

The Alabama-Coushatta casino and the Speaking Rock Casino were closed in 2002 by court orders. The tribes say they need restoration of their casino revenues for health care, education and other tribal necessities. The Speaking Rock Casino operated from 1993-2001 producing $60 million annually for the Tiguas. The Alabama-Coushatta casino operated for only nine generating $1 million per month for its tribe.

Rep. Chavez filed similar legislation two years ago, but that bill died on a 66-66 tie vote in the House.

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