McGuireWoods Lawyers, Consultants Provide Insight on High Court’s Tribal Bingo Ruling

June 27, 2022

McGuireWoods lawyers and consultants authored an analysis for Law360 on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision holding that the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Indian tribe can operate commercial bingo games on tribal lands in Texas. The June 23, 2022, article was written by McGuireWoods partner and McGuireWoods Consulting senior vice president Mike Andrews and McGuireWoods associates Miles Indest and Paul Chappell. McGuireWoods partner Yasser Madriz and associate Ryan Frankel and McGuireWoods Consulting senior vice president and director Holly DeShields also contributed to the article.

“With this landmark ruling in their favor, Native American tribes may push even harder to obtain the right to offer casino-style games and sports betting on their Texas reservations,” the authors wrote.

The article provided a historical overview of the 1987 law restoring Ysleta del Sur Pueblo’s federal trust status and the gaming disputes that have occurred since passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. It then assessed the impact of the Supreme Court’s June 15, 2022, decision in Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas, which paves the way for Texas’ three federally recognized tribes to have Class II gaming.

“Depending on the next hand dealt, and the tribes’ appetite for risk, Texas could eventually become a significant part of the nation’s multibillion-dollar gaming enterprise,” the authors noted.

Texas Lawyer and the Nevada Independent also interviewed Andrews for stories about the U.S. Supreme Court decision. Andrews, who oversees the Native American policy group at McGuireWoods Consulting and is the former chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said that the ruling — which also impacts two other Native American tribes in Texas — empowers the tribes to operate certain types of games, like bingo, and cut the state out of income derived from it.

Andrews said the opinion establishes the National Indian Gaming Commission as the regulator for the tribe’s bingo operations, not Texas. It could lead to the tribe expanding operations to include more lucrative types of commercial gaming, like blackjack, and sets up a potential fight between the tribe and the state over such ambitions, he said.

“For the tribe to prosper to bigger gaming options, it’s going to have to seek a compact with the Governor’s Office,” Andrews told Texas Lawyer. “If the governor says, ‘Never,’ the tribe can go to the Department of the Interior.”