Texas Gambling Bill Would Authorize Compact Negotiations With Kickapoo

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on January 26, 2023
Lawmakers introduce resolution to include Texas tribe in gambling expansion

Texas Sen. Roland Gutierrez and state Rep. Eddie Morales intend to ensure that indigenous tribes are included in Texas gambling expansion.

In a joint resolution, lawmakers are proposing an amendment allowing the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas to create a gaming compact with the state. Texas Senate Joint Resolution 30 (SJR-30) would pave the way for the Kickapoo gaming compact.

It would also guarantee the Kickapoo Tribe to partake in all Class III casino games legalized in the state.

But, to succeed, the bill needs a two-thirds majority approval in both the House and Senate. It would also require the approval of Gov. Greg Abbott who would put voters to decide.

Resolution would expand Kickapoo tribe’s gaming offer to Class III

The Kickapoo Tribe runs the only tribal casino in the state, The Lucky Eagle Casino.

According to the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), the Kickapoo tribe can only offer Class I and Class II casino games. That’s because those are the types of gaming authorized in Texas.

The IGRA does not protect Texas’ other two tribes – the Ysleta del Sur (Tiguas) and the Alabama-Coushatta. They have their offerings in the form of more limited Class I casino games, mainly including electronic bingo.

The Lucky Eagle Casino is the only venue that offers a range of Class II casino games like bingo, keno and poker. A Texas gambling expansion to Class III gaming would allow the Kickapoo Tribe to add games like 21 and blackjack.

The extended selection would also include Vegas-style slot machines and craps. And maybe even sports betting.

SJR-30 to give Kickapoo more freedom to offer Texas gambling

The legislation says that the tribe must be allowed to offer any form of gaming that becomes available within 200 miles of the Kickapoo reservation. 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 authorized 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 new location must be within 300 miles of the tribe’s reservation. But may not be within 30 miles of a state racetrack.

Taxes would be 3% of a net win for all Class III casino games.

Alvarado’s legislation would ask tribal casinos to cover a different portion of revenue through taxes. That would impose 25% of gross gaming revenue from slot machines and 10% from table games.

The bill would also ask tribal operators to have an effective gaming contract. Or follow all state regulations that correlate to Federal laws.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for PlayCanada.com. Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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