Published: June 15, 2022

US Supreme Court upholds Texas tribe’s right to offer bingo


The ruling doesn’t expand the kinds of games tribes can offer on their lands but reaffirms their autonomy to regulate gambling activities that aren’t prohibited in Texas, regardless of the state’s rules.

The U.S. Supreme Court sided with two Native American tribes in Texas in a ruling Wednesday that reaffirmed their autonomy to regulate non-prohibited gaming on their lands and strengthened tribal sovereignty in the state.

The justices came to a 5-4 ruling. The nation’s highest court stated that the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo tribe near El Paso, also known as the Tiguas, and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, north of Houston, have the autonomy to regulate electronic bingo games on their lands, regardless of the state’s rules on non-prohibited gambling. In other words, if the game isn’t outright prohibited and criminalized in the state, ​​Texas can’t impose its regulations on the tribes’ games.

“The Court’s decision is an affirmation of Tribal sovereignty and a victory for the Texas economy,” Ricky Sylestine, chair of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas’ Tribal Council, said in a statement. “The highest Court in the land has made clear that our Tribe has the right to legally operate electronic bingo on our reservation, just as we have the past six years."

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