Livingston casino will stay closed for now

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LIVINGSTON, TX (KTRE) - "The line would go all the way out there.  You see where that red car is, people [would] be lined all out there waiting to get in.  Sometimes they waited all night," said former casino employee David Battise.

Now the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas is the one that will  have to wait until the next legislative session.

"We've been waiting this whole time so we've just got to wait again," Battise said.

They will look at other options like bringing back tourism, but train rides and bus tours aren't always enough to keep the money coming in.

"Gaming's not our only option, but it is one of the most lucrative options.  That's how come we fight for it year in and year out," said Tribal Council Chairman Carlos Bullock.

Reopening isn't an option dealt to the tribe this year, but Bullock isn't folding.

"Actually letting down our people is what's really difficult for me because I know a lot of people depended on us to try to get this passed," Bullock said.

People like David Battise.

"When it's ready to close down there was nothing I could do, just go look for another job.  There was a lot of people losing their jobs that day.  Pretty tough for everybody," said Battise.

Former employees like Battise are waiting until the day where they can put their uniforms back on.

"I told my boss I'm just going to walk straight down here and put my application in.  Just waiting, that's all you can do.  I wish they would open it back up," Battise said.

It may be a ways down the road, but the Tribe will keep fighting.

"Giving up is not an option," Bullock said.

The odds may be against the Tribe this year, but they're hoping next year their luck will change.

"I think it'd be good if it opened back up.  I'm waiting for it to open up," Battise said.

They needed 100 votes in the Texas House to place the bill on the ballot for a statewide election, since it required a constitutional amendment to allow gaming in Texas.   They got close with over 90 votes, but it wasn't enough.   The tribe said they plan to push for gaming on tribal lands again at the next legislative session in 2011.