American Indian tribe fights Texas to keep bingo center open

In this May 2, 2017, photo, gamblers play electronic bingo at the Naskila Gaming center, operated by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas about 15 miles east of Livingston, Texas. Nearly a year after a relatively small electronic bingo operation quietly opened, Texas officials historically opposed to anything resembling casino-style gambling are in federal court insisting the 365 bingo machines are illegal. (AP Photo/Michael Graczyk)
In this May 2, 2017, photo, gamblers play electronic bingo at the Naskila Gaming center, operated by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas about 15 miles east of Livingston, Texas. Nearly a year after a relatively small electronic bingo operation quietly opened, Texas officials historically opposed to anything resembling casino-style gambling are in federal court insisting the 365 bingo machines are illegal. (AP Photo/Michael Graczyk)

LIVINGSTON, Texas (AP) — Texas authorities are heading to federal court in an effort to shut down 365 bingo machines at a small electronic bingo operation run by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe.

The Naskila Gaming entertainment center has been opened for nearly a year about 80 miles northeast of Houston. Tribal leaders say it’s been a success, noting that it’s created about 400 jobs and has had a $5 million local economic impact so far.

But state attorneys say the operation is illegal. The state says the presence of electronic bingo machines violates an injunction from 15 years ago that closed a full-scale casino shortly after the tribe opened it on the same site.

A federal court hearing in the case is set for Thursday.

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