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Indian casinos in Texas - the push for gambling bill

The Indian tribes in the state of Texas continue to urge the local lawmakers to go through with the gambling bill which would allow casino on tribal land.

Texas Indian casinos and gambling billThe Alabama-Coushatta tribe in East Texas are in the middle of the debates, releasing earlier a survey commissioned by the tribes and conducted by by Baselice and Associates of Austin. The survey of 1,000 Texans in the beginning of April found that 66% (± 3.1%)of the surveyed approve of Indian casinos in Texas. The tribe also claims that over $3 billion every year is gambled by the people of Texas in the neighbouring states with legalized gambling. Total of three Indian tribes could take advantage of the proposed gambling bill and build casinos in Texas: Alabama-Coushatta, Tigua and the Kickapoo tribes.

According to the Alabama-Coushatta, legal casinos on Indian reservations would immensely help the tribe combat poverty, and would contribute to improved health care and education among its members. The tribes in Texas used to run casinos which were closed under a state law.

The gambling bill (HB 10) should be voted on today, and would ensure defense from prosecution for the Indian casinos; in addition 5% of the casino revenues would go to the Texas college scholarship fund. The bill was initially scheduled for voting last week, but it was suspended from the floor due to a technicality. It had also met a strong opposition from the Baptist Church and some conservatives.

According to Alabama-Coushatta tribe's data, the tribe has 46% unemployment rate, with a median household income of only $10,809. Tribe members with a four-year college degree account for less than 1%. Their reservation in Texas is a little over 7,000 square miles.


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