Gambling In Texas - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

11/29/07 - Polk County

Gambling In Texas

by Christa Lollis

The Alabama Coushatta Tribe used to welcome hundreds of tourists but lately their streets have been empty. Now they're fighting to bring back the casino they once counted on for survival. "I think Indian casino's overall bring in more than 52 billion dollars a year and when we see Texas dollars going to neighboring states to gamble, we know we need one here."

The casino opened in 2001 but closed less than a year later, leaving the reservation wondering what would happen next. "When it ended after 9 months of operation it was like we went through a period of depression because we knew that it was a very successful venture." Those few months of operation brought quick revenue to the tribe. Some money was donated to the state, but the rest they used to make tribal life better. "We had planned to use it to improve our community, build more homes, build better roads, improve our infrastructure. We didn't have a chance to do that because we operated less than a year."

The casino's downfall came on the floor of the Texas legislature, by just one vote. But now, the leaders of the tribe feel they're ready to win over the majority. "We've gained a little experience. We've gained a little knowledge of what our next efforts should be and we're not giving up. We're coming back in 2009.  When we had our gaming program it was just electric. I mean, it just brought the people out and we would like to see that again."

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