By Emily Banks Wooten
“The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in the case brought by Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo, a federally recognized tribe in El Paso. The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe would be affected by the ruling and we support Ysleta in this case. A favorable ruling could provide the stability for Naskila Gaming employees and members of our tribe that we have long sought, and we were encouraged by the arguments made before the Supreme Court. We expect a ruling by the end of the Court’s term in June,” Ricky Sylestine, Chairman of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council, said.
“We are grateful to the members of our tribe for their patience and perseverance throughout this case and to the legal teams from both tribes that helped us get to this place,” Sylestine said.
Oral arguments presented Tuesday could make clear that two federally recognized tribes in Texas — Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas — are allowed to operate electronic bingo facilities on their reservations.
The case is extremely important to the economy and the people of Texas because a ruling from the Supreme Court has the potential to end the State of Texas’ longtime effort to prevent the two tribes from offering electronic bingo on their reservations. Currently, the two tribes both have electronic bingo facilities on their reservations.
The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas operates Naskila Gaming, the second-largest employer in Polk County. Some 700 jobs are tied directly or indirectly to Naskila Gaming, as well as over $170 million in annual economic stimulus, making its long-term stability essential to the economic future of East Texas.