|The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe has closed its casino in compliance with a federal judge’s order, but has vowed to fight the decision. 'We have come together in a time of disappointment for our people,” tribal chairman Kevin Battise said at a news conference just prior to the closure. |
The shutdown came a month after US District Judge John Hannah Jr. ordered the casino out of business by the end of July 25. Hannah said the casino is illegal because of the Native American Restoration Act of 1987. In return for federal recognition, the tribe agreed in 1987 that it would not sponsor any gambling activities that were illegal in the state of Texas.
The tribe had hoped the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans would grant its request for a stay of Hannah's ruling while it petitions its case. But the court denied the tribe's motion Wednesday last week.
Alabama-Coushatta officials said they will now concentrate on getting state legislation changed so the casino can be reopened.
The Alabama-Coushatta, as well as the Tigua Indians, have argued they are sovereign nations. They contend they were coerced into signing the Restoration Act and that the state's lottery statute allows them to open casinos.