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UPDATE: Coushatta Tribe decides to close casino, too

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Posted at 12:22 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 13:54:50-04

The Coushatta Tribe has now closed their casino in Kinder.

The tribe's closure took place last night at midnight and will continue for 14 days, a statement from the tribe indicates.

"The temporary suspension of operations applies to all Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana casino and hotel venues including the Grand Hotel, Seven Clans Hotel, Red Shoes RV Park & Chalets, Koasati Pines Golf Course, and the Pavilion at Coushatta. Feather Fuel will remain open with limited functions," the statement reads. "Throughout this closure, the Coushatta Tribe will provide updates as needed, and will notify the public should it decide to open sooner than expected or extend the closure beyond the anticipated deadline."

Yesterday, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana has decided to close its Paragon Casino Resort tomorrow at 5 p.m.

The Governor on Monday ordered Louisiana's casinos were ordered to close at midnight.

Because the casinos belonging to the Tunica-Biloxi, the Coushatta Tribe and the Chitimacha Tribe are on reservations, which are soveriegn nations, the state has no authority to order them closed. Each Tribe has its own government to make those decisions.

"With state of emergencies being declared by President Donald Trump as well as the Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, the Tribal Council agreed that closing Paragon facilities is in the best interest of all tribal members, casino employees and patrons. Though this announcement follows Gov. John Bel Edward’s order to close casinos across the state, that mandate does not include Native American casinos. As a sovereign nation, the Tunica Biloxi leaders have acted in the best interest of their tribal members and their community at large," a statement from the Tribe reads.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided that closing Paragon temporarily is the best course of action at this time,” said Marshall Ray Sampson, Vice-Chairman of The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. “We value our guests and staff’s health and well-being above all and will open again when it is safe to do so.”

While Paragon serves as an essential economic driver for Marksville, LA and the surrounding area, safety and health are of paramount concern for the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe.

“Throughout this difficult time, we will do everything that we can to assist our Paragon family and others that might be impacted in our area,” said Marshall Pierite, Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. “While temporarily closing was not an easy decision to make, we ultimately believe that it is necessary to preserve and protect the health of our community.”

In addition to the Tribal Council, this decision was also supported by and in line with the Tunica-Biloxi Gaming Commission’s protocols which are enacted when safety for gaming patrons is a concern.

“I agree fully with the Tribal Council’s decision to halt operations of Paragon and know that it is in the best interest of our guests,” said Rudy Wambsgans III, Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Gaming Commission.

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Council is continuing to stay in contact with local, state and federal leaders surrounding COVID-19. The Tribe is continuing to monitor the situation and will respond accordingly. For continued updates, visit – https://www.tunicabiloxi.org/ [tunicabiloxi.org] or follow the Tribe on Facebook.

Here's the story from earlier today:

Louisiana's casinos - except for those on Native American reservations - will close at midnight tonight.

Ronnie Jones, chair of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, tells KATC that he sent an email to Louisiana's 20 casinos this morning, telling them they will receive a formal order today to shut down at midnight tonight.

That order includes the state's 15 riverboat casinos, the four track facilities and the land-based casino, Jones said.

It does not include casinos owned by the Coushatta, Tunica-Biloxi and Chitimacha tribes; the tribes are not subject to the state's orders as reservations are considered sovereign nations. We've reached out to the tribes to see what their plans are and will update this story as soon as possible.

The Chitimacha Tribe has a meeting scheduled to discuss COVID-19 and its impact on the tribe's casino but that meeting hasn't not happened yet. We'll update as soon as we hear from the tribe.

Jones said the order will be in place for 14 days, and subject to extension depending on circumstances.

In an update on Monday, the Coushatta Tribe says that on March 16, 2020, amid rising national concerns over COVID-19, the tribe has elected to voluntarily suspend operations at the Coushatta Casino Resort effective as of 11:59 p.m., Monday, March 16, 2020, for a period of 14 days.

The temporary suspension of operations applies to all Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana casino and hotel venues including the Grand Hotel, Seven Clans Hotel, Red Shoes RV Park & Chalets, Koasati Pines Golf Course, and the Pavilion at Coushatta. Feather Fuel will remain open with limited functions.

Throughout this closure, the Coushatta Tribe will provide updates as needed, and will notify the public should it decide to open sooner than expected or extend the closure beyond the anticipated deadline

Coushatta Casino Resort is located in Kinder, Louisiana on US Highway 165 (I-10 exit 44) and features over 2,000 slots and more than 65 table games including live poker, plus live bingo and off-track betting. Phone 800-584-7263 for more information, or visit the website at www.ccrla.com.