Casinos and the Coushatta Reservation

Karla Y. Phelps, “The Casino, the Coushatta, and the Community: Road to Riches or Road to Ruin?”Touchstone, vol. XIX (2000), 23-38.

This article by Karla Phelps examines the socioeconomic and political impact the Grand Casino Coushatta has had on the Coushatta reservation and the surrounding community in Allen Parish. Phelps discusses the condition of the reservations and Allen Parish before and after the opening of the gambling facility.

Historically, Allen Parish was an agricultural community, having 357 farms in 1992. Some of the economic problems in Allen Parish were a low per capita income and low sales tax revenues. Their infrastructure was in poor condition and they had no revenues to repair the infrastructure. Allen Parish had unemployment rates of 14.2% in 1994; and the Coushatta had a 50% unemployment rate, according to the 1990 Census. The high unemployment rates necessarily caused welfare dependency among the Coushattas and people in Allen Parish.

This was the state of the Coushatta tribe and Allen Parish when a Nebraska developer negotiated with the Coushattas to open the casino. After the Tribal-State Compact for Class III Gaming was approved by the Coushatta Tribal Council and the State of Louisiana, Grand Casinos purchased the land, donated it to the Coushattas, and began lobbying the U. S. Congress to make slot machines and other electronic gaming machines available to the Coushattas and Allen Parish.

The State of Louisiana passed the Tribal-State Law knowing that Grand Casinos would provide the revenue to benefit the Coushattas, Allen Parish, and the State of Louisiana. Because the Tribal-State Law gives the authority to run the casinos to the Coushattas, it is not seen as giving Allen Parish or the State of Louisiana any sort of independent authority. State legislators decided that the slot machines would not be blanketed with regulation, but would instead be handled independently.

This was a shocking opinion for the State legislators who originally bargained to keep the casino out of Allen Parish. After all, the Coushatta tribe controls a large part of Allen Parish: they are land owners and have threebors, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, all of which have large Indian tribes. Allen Parish had plenty of opportunities to say no to the casino, but political lure got in the way.

The Coushatta tribe decided to sell the casino to Grand Casinos, which has run slot machines in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. The sale price was $9 million dollars; and with no debt, the proceeds will go to the Allen Parish Community Corporation to be used for community benefits.

Allen Parish got just $1,150,000 dollars for the deal; but the sale price was a lot more than they expected.

The Allen Parish Community Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that budgets for social services. The Casino benefits Allen Parish nicely. Allen Parish has a population of about 22,000 people, and the Casino could potentially bring in many new clients and business.

The Casino will also pay back the taxes on the gaming profits over the next 30 years.

The Allen Parish Community Corporation plans to honor the $9 million dollar sale price, and plans to spend the same amount again for community benefits. They have also agreed to build housing for the needy and elderly people along with opening health and medical centers. Allen Parish has a lot of levee flooding, and many of their citizens were without water. Without levee flooding, many people won’t have water, and it could cause widespread flooding.

The Casino will be a great economic boost for Allen Parish. The Allen Parish Recreational Facilities, which include the Grand Casino and the Allen Parish Fair, draw recreational betters from all over the world. The local economy is hoping to benefit from increased Huntingdones and Grand Casino gambling. The Allen Parish Community Building, a non-profit organization, plans to implement the Soaring Eagle Credit Opportunity Act to help with economic development around the county. The Mohammedans are a peace-loving people, but many of the Rahans come to Allen Parish from Missouri to shop and sell their goods.

The cooperation between the Mohammedan community and Allen Parish has improved Allen Parish’s economy significantly. Allen Parish is home to about650,000 people, and the Mohammedan tempers many locals by saying that they are just trying to steal away their water and property.

The cooperation between the Allen Parish and the Mohammedan people has made the area a better place to live. Allen Parish is about 865 sq. ft. larger than Houston. The forecast foreeks in the area is that the Hurricane will fall harder and faster and cause more flooding. By the end of the hurricane by, it is likely that theansas river will rise to the Gulf of Mexico. Then, huge waves will begin to move up and down the U.

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