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Reaction to Tigua tribe winning decades-long gambling fight with Texas

EL PASO, Texas -- The Tigua tribe scored a major victory against Texas over the legality of gambling.

The Tigua can legally operate bingo-based games at their Speaking Rock Entertainment Center in the Lower Valley.

The Restoration Act of 1987, barred the Tigua tribe from conducting gambling prohibited in Texas.

The legal fight between the state and the Tiguas started in the early 1990s. It was at that point the tribe made efforts to expand gambling on its land.

In response, the state went to federal court to repeatedly block those efforts over the years. The 5th Circuit Court had ruled that gambling by the Tiguas was illegal.

"The tribe has remained steadfast, and for the first time really today, their stance was vindicated by a court. Until today courts had constantly rejected their arguments, but now the highest court in the land has sided with the tribe," said Bob Moore, El Paso matters founder who followed this case closely.

Brant C Martin, the lead attorney, had this to say in a statement.

"Well, the Tribe is obviously very pleased with this indication offered by the opinion handed down by the Supreme Court this morning and the fact the Court agreed with the interpretation of the Restoration Act we look forward to continuing the litigation in the lower courts under the guidance provided by the opinion."

Congresswoman Veronica Escobar also weighing in on the ruling.

“Today’s historic opinion marks a long-overdue victory for the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Tribe. I congratulate all those who worked on behalf of the Tiguas to help reverse targeted discrimination they’ve had to endure, grant this community its right to sovereignty and to usher in the economic independence that will come with this ruling."

The ruling does not extend to other forms of gambling.

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Sarah Coria

multimedia journalist

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