US Supreme Court rules El Paso Tigua tribe can have bingo at casino

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with new information.

El Paso’s Tigua tribe can legally conduct electronic bingo games at its Lower Valley casino, the US Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in the latest twist in the tribe’s decadeslong legal battle with the state of Texas over gambling.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that federal law allows on tribal lands gaming activities that are not banned in Texas. Bingo is allowed in Texas.

It voided an appeals court’s 2020 decision against the Tiguas and sent the case back to the lower court.

Chief Justice John Roberts issued a dissenting opinion.

Brant Martin, a Fort Worth attorney representing the Tiguas, said the tribe is pleased by the “vindication offered with the opinion handed down, and the fact the court agreed with our interpretation of the (federal) Restoration Act.”

“We look forward to continuing the litigation in the lower courts under the guidance provided by the opinion,” he said.

The Tiguas' Speaking Rock Entertainment Center is at 122 S. Old Pueblo Road.

Officials with the Texas Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“In this case, Texas contends that Congress expressly ordained that all of its gaming laws should be treated as surrogate federal law enforceable on the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Reservation (the Tiguas tribe’s formal name),” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion. “In the end, however, we find no evidence Congress endowed state law with anything like the power Texas claims.”

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