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Texas bill seeks to guarantee Kickapoo Tribe’s position in gambling


A Texas senator has introduced a bill that seeks to guarantee the Kickapoo Tribe’s position should the state pass legislation expanding its gambling market.

Senate Joint Resolution 30, sponsored by Sen. Roland Gutierrez, proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas to conduct gaming by executing a gaming compact with the state.

It states that the tribe must be allowed to offer any form of gaming that becomes available within 200 miles of its Lucky Eagle Casino, while taxes would be limited to 3% of net win.

A limited number of three tribal entities can provide casino gambling under the current Federal law in Texas. The list includes the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass, Naskila Gaming in Livingston, and the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center in El Paso.

However, with legislation being progressed for wider gambling in the state, the Gutierrez bill would enshrine Kickapoo’s position via a gaming compact.

Senate Joint Resolution 17, filed in November 2022, devises the framework for a new body named the Texas Gaming Commission, which would supervise legalised gambling in Texas.

Casino gambling would be authorzsed at a “limited number of destination resorts and facilities” with the proceeds going towards tax relief and funding for education and public safety. The amendment’s author is Houston-based state senator Carol Alvarado, a Democrat.

The Gutierrez bill states: “If, after January 1, 2024, this state by general law or constitutional amendment authorizes video lottery terminals, slot machines, or other forms of gaming not otherwise authorized before that date within 200 miles of the boundary of the reservation of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas near Eagle Pass, Texas, the tribe is authorised to offer the same types of games or devices as authorized under that law or amendment at a location designated by the tribe.

“A tax or fee may not be imposed on the tribe in an amount that exceeds the amount of a tax or fee imposed on the operators of other gaming facilities in this state.”

The Alvarado state amendment would ask Indian casinos to cover an additional portion of revenue in the form of taxes. The bill would also ask the same tribal operators to have an effective gaming agreement or obey all state regulations related to Federal laws.