fbpx
facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1
 

On Wednesday June 15 the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Indian Tribe of Texas, determining that the state cannot regulate electronic bingo on reservation lands. 

The case, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Indian Tribe vs. Texas, overturns a 2020 Fifth Circuit Court determination that Texas had the ability to stop the tribe from gaming activities on their land. 

“In this case, Texas contends that Congress expressly ordained that all of its gaming laws should be treated as surrogate federal law enforceable on the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Reservation,” wrote Justice Gorsuch in today’s opinion. “In the end, however, we find no evidence Congress endowed state law with anything like the power Texas claims.”

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

Texas claimed that the Ysleta del Sur and Alabama and Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act of 1987 allows the state to prevent the three federally recognized tribes in the state from offering bingo. Meanwhile, bingo is allowed elsewhere in Texas. 

The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo argued that the state was singling out the tribe over its electronic bingo games at an entertainment center in El Paso. The state argued that e-bingo on reservations goes beyond what the state allows. 

When the Tribe filed a petition to the Supreme Court, the court asked for views by the Solicitor General. The Solicitor General argued that since the state hasn’t banned bingo, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, not the Restoration Act of 1987, should apply to the Tribe and, therefore, the National Indian Gaming Commission oversees gaming activities. 

The court agreed with the Solicitor General and the decision will most definitely benefit the Alabama and Coushatta Tribe of Texas to offer gaming at its Nakila Gaming e-bingo center on its reservation in East Texas. The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe participated in the case, but wasn’t allowed to present an oral argument. 

The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, the other federally recognized tribe in the state, does not fall under the Regulatory Act of 1987 and has been operating the only casino in the state in Eagle Pass, Texas.

The state can prohibit gaming activities, but cannot regulate gaming activities, said the Supreme Court in its split decision today. The National Indian Gaming Commission is tasked with regulation.

The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama and Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas became federally recognized by Congress through the passing of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama and Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act of 1987. 

More Stories Like This

Read Former President Trump's Acceptance Speech
Chief Standing Bear Courage Prize Committee Announces U.S. District Court Judge Diane Humetewa as 2024 Prize Recipient
Vice President Kamala Harris Speaks in Michigan about Women's Rights
Trump’s New Running Mate, J.D. Vance, Has History of Anti-Indigenous Beliefs
Rep. Lauren Boebert Thinks She Should be the Next Interior Secretary If Trump is Elected

Join us in observing 100 years of Native American citizenship. On June 2, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act, granting Native Americans US citizenship, a pivotal moment in their quest for equality. This year marks its centennial, inspiring our special project, "Heritage Unbound: Native American Citizenship at 100," observing their journey with stories of resilience, struggle, and triumph. Your donations fuel initiatives like these, ensuring our coverage and projects honoring Native American heritage thrive. Your donations fuel initiatives like these, ensuring our coverage and projects honoring Native American heritage thrive.

About The Author
Author: Darren ThompsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is a staff reporter for Native News Online who is based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty, and Indigenous issues for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, Powwows.com and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in international conversation. He has a bachelor’s degree in Criminology & Law Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.