Legislation has been introduced to the Texas House to bring more casino gambling to the Lonestar State. As the current legislative session is near wrapping up (little over one month from now), House Bill 10 has begun the debate rounds in the Texas House. The bill was introduced by two Indian tribes – the Tigua and Coushatta – essentially seeking to overturn former Attorney General John Cornyn’s federal court case against both tribes, resulting in the closing of their casinos.
In 2002, Cornyn won a case to shut down the Tigua’s Speaking Rock Casino in El Paso and the Coushatta’s casino in southeastern Texas. Now, the two tribes are asking the Texas House to reconsider the issue and allow them to reopen their casinos. Both tribes claim that without the gaming revenue they were accustomed to receiving, their economic situations have been drastically declining. They have been forced to cut back on welfare programs for the elderly as well as eliminate college scholarship programs.
What is special about House Bill 10 is that it may be the only casino gambling related bill to make it to the House floor. The chances of it being passed are looking good, so long as it does not get a minority vote. Instead of needing a two-thirds majority vote – as is normally the case with new legislation – House Bill 10 only needs a simple majority vote.
The reason why House Bill 10 is an exception to the rule is that the legislation would not effectively legalize casino gambling on tribal lands, but would rather give the tribes a defensive shield against criminal prosecution for opening their casinos back up. And as the tribes claim, it would help them to get their economies back on their feet.
Addiction Led to Criminal Behavior
Lu Hardin is best known these days as the criminal that used to be the president of the
University of Central Arkansas . Seemingly having it all, there were many that were shocked to find out that Hardin was actually a slot machine addict who had used funds that he obtained illegally to play the games. Hardin had plead guilty to two felonies that lead to his taking a $300,000 bonus through deception as he needed the money for his slot machine addiction. He is now asking the judge to please keep him out of jail for the offence.
He has sent a letter to the judge detailing that it was the addiction to slot machines that made him act the way that he did and that he has long been a pillar in the community. He asked the judge to take into consideration all of his charitable work and contributions that he has done over the years and that jail would not help him and could hurt him instead. Instead he is asking for probation, especially since he said that he was able to pay back the money almost immediately.
Hardi friends say that he was an outstanding and upstanding member of the community before he became addicted to slot machines. They say that he has been attending Gamblers Anonymous meetings for the past year when he realized that he was addicted to slot machines. However, the courts say that there is no proof that when he resigned that he stopped his gambling and that is going to work to his detriment.