Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Monday, September 27, 1999


AG promises to enforce Texas law on illegal casino gambling

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today sued to shut down illegal gaming activities on the Tigua reservation. "This lawsuit simply seeks to enforce Texas law," Cornyn said.

Filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, El Paso Division, the suit seeks a permanent injunction against the tribe's illegal activities in the Speaking Rock Casino in El Paso.

In the Casino, the Tiguas offer poker, Tigua 21 (a form of blackjack), slot machines, and keno for profit in a public place. "All of those activities are prohibited by Texas law and violate the Texas Penal Code," Cornyn said. The Tigua Restoration Act of 1987 specifically prohibits all gaming, gambling, lottery, or bingo prohibited by Texas law on tribal land.

When the Restoration Act of 1987, which gave the Tiguas federal recognition, was adopted, the tribe's leadership pledged to Congress that it, "has no interest in conducting high stakes bingo or other gambling operations on its reservation and that it remains firm in its commitment to prohibit outright any gambling or bingo in any form on its reservation."

"They have broken that promise," Cornyn said. Six years after their pledge, the Tiguas established Speaking Rock Casino.

In 1994, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that The Restoration Act of 1987 prohibits any gambling on the reservation that is prohibited by Texas law. Yet by February, 1996, the Tribal Council enacted a gaming ordinance, authorizing high stakes gaming activities on the reservation.

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Contact Ted Delisi, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050