Nation | Tribe: Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas
Since 2001 Naskila Gaming has fought the State of Texas for the right to offer casino games under the U.S. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988. That law allows Class II casino gaming on American Indian reservations across the nation. Texas claims the Texas Tribe Restoration Act of 1987 supercedes the provisions of the IGRA and specifically prohibits all gambling activities by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. The U.S. Supreme Court will review and decide this issue in 2022 in the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas.
Opening date June 2, 2016.
The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas originally a casino in 2001. After 9 months of operation Texas ruled that state law supersedes the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the casino was shut down.
Near the end of 2015 the U.S. Department of Interior and the National Indian Gaming Commission ruled that the tribe can operate Class II casino games on its reservation.
Michael Odle with the National Indian Gaming Commission said in November 2015, "After evaluating a recent court decision it is in our belief, as well as the Department of the Interior, it provides the tribes in Texas the ability to game under Class II gaming. Generally what you will see is various forms of bingo, both hard copy and electronic forms." Class II gaming excludes poker tables, slot machines or roulette.
The new Naskila Gaming casino replaced the former Livingston Entertainment Center. It is located off U.S. 190 between Woodville and Livingston about 17 miles east of the city of Livingston and 240 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
In August 2021 a U.S. District Court ruled against the State of Texas lawsuit to shut the casino down.
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September 9, 2021
The U.S. District Court in Beaumont ruled last week in favor of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas and its Naskila Gaming in a case filed by the State Texas. The court affirmed the right of the tribe to continue operating Class II gaming at their Naskila Gaming casino as allowed under the Tribe's 1987 Restoration Act and the 1988 U.S. Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
In 2015 the U.S. Department of Interior approved Class II gaming on Alabama-Coushatta reservation land. The tribe then opened Naskila Gaming May 2016. Shortly afterwards, the State of Texas filed this lawsuit to shut it down.
A statement released by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council reads:
"This ruling affirms that we have a legally sound right to support our Tribe by operating Naskila Gaming. This is not only a win for the citizens of our Tribe, but also for the hundreds of families who depend on Naskila Gaming for their livelihood and for the economic health of East Texas. The continued operation of Naskila Gaming is vital to the economic success of the community we proudly call home."
- Chairperson Nita Battise
Naskila Gaming is 30,000-square-foot Class II casino with 800 electronic gaming machines operating 24 hours daily. The casino is located near Livingston, Texas about 240 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
March 20, 2020
Naskila Gaming is an electronic bingo casino owned by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe in Livingston, Texas. In a newly-released study by the Texas Forest Country Partnership (TFCP), Naskila Gaming was recognized as the second largest employer in Polk County.
The casino provides a $170 million impact on the East Texas economy up from $140 million in 2018. The study states Naskila Gaming "supports more than 700 local jobs, numerous educational programs, health care facilities, and much-needed housing programs".
Naskila also impacts surrounding counties where it spent an additional $24 million to vendors and $5 million in payroll last year.
Cecilia Flores, Alabama-Coushatta Tribe Tribal Council Chairperson, said:
"I am extremely proud that our electronic bingo operation supports hundreds of well-paying jobs while providing entertainment for one million visitors each year, 95 percent of whom come from outside of Polk County. This study reinforces the critical economic impact and jobs Naskila Gaming provides for Deep East Texas families -- an impact that must be preserved by the Senate passage of HR 759. Affirming the sovereign right of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe to offer electronic bingo will save jobs and protect economic opportunity for the people of East Texas."
April 27, 2018
Approval has been given for the electronic bingo parlor to continue operating by the the Polk County Commissioners. The gaming facility, Naskila Gaming, is owned by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. The approval from the commission on Tuesday. It supports the proposed federal legislation bill that would give clarification to the National Indian Gaming Commission authorization.
Naskila Gaming has been the center of a lawsuit between the tribe and the State of Texas.
A legislative bill is being sponsored by U.S. Congressman Brian Babin. The bill is HR 4985. Also known as Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Equal and Fair Opportunity Settlement Act. The bill would prevent the State of Texas from future legal action against the gaming operations at the bingo facility.
Congress will now view the resolution as proof that electronic bingo has community support. The tribe has encountered such since the first announcement planning Naskila Gaming.
There are 330 people that have been employed by Naskila Gaming. They receive healthcare benefits from their jobs. Of those employees, 60 percent are not members of the tribe. $16.8 million has been paid in salaries and benefits.
Protecting the jobs for the people employed by the gaming facility has been a driving force for tribe to continue pushing back against the State of Texas.
Guests from all around the state have visited and showed support. The economy in east Texas has benefited from this.
With the approval from the Polk County Commissioners, the tribe is also hopeful to soon gain congressional approval as well.
February 07, 2018
The electronic gaming hall owned by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe was ordered to close by a federal judge this week. The gaming venue was located north of Beaumont. 90 miles away.
Over 360 electronic gaming machines are in operation at Naskila Gaming.
A lawsuit was first filed in August of 2016. Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General, asked a federal judge to shut down the gaming venue. This was due to this type of entertainment venue was a violation of state law.
The tribe fought back. Stating that they had the right to operate their bingo hall under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act from 1988.
However, the state of Texas believed that the 1987 Restoration Act is the law that should be followed. The wording used allows for recognition of the tribe's status but prevents gaming from on their land.
Currently Texas allows for greyhound and horse betting. However, that is the only form of betting allowed. All other forms are illegal.
Texas maintains that the court must uphold what was written in the Restoration Act since it was what the tribe agreed upon when it came to the gaming laws. The court is obligated to decide based on current law.
The attorney for the tribe claims the tribe was forced to agree to never operate gaming on their land. The state Congress would not pass the Restoration Act if they did not.
An appeal has been filed with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. It was submitted on Tuesday by the tribe after the ruling was made.
The next day the bingo hall remained open.
$17 million in employee payroll is paid every year. It is a major employer for Tyler and Polk counties.
A hearing will be scheduled for later in the month.
May 18, 2016
After 13 years the bingo hall, Naskila Entertainment, has reopened. The venue is owned by the Alabama-Coushatta tribe.
Naskila Entertainment is located north of Beaumont between Livingston and Woodville on tribal land.
A federal court order forced the bingo hall to previously close.
200 people attended the soft opening. The grand opening will take place on June 2. This is the day before the tribe's annual pow-wow.
The tribe was given approval by both the National Indian gaming Commission and the U.S. Department of Interior to offer Class II gaming and bingo.
The new casino has 365 electronic bingo machines in operation. There is a designated game room for smokers. There is also a VIP area and high stakes gaming.
Hamburgers, ribs, and salads are served at the 80 seat dining venue.
Naskila Entertainment offers membership to a players club. The members gaming is tracked and receives points that can be used towards free meals and other bonuses.
The casino has created 200 new jobs.
April 16, 2016
A job fair will be held on April 19 ad 20 for the new Class II gaming center, Naskila Entertainment. The center is owned by the Alabama-Coushatta tribe.
The casino is located in Livingston. It 10,000 square feet of gaming floor with over 350 electronic games.
The job fair will be located at the tribe's Multi-Purpose center. Tribal members are invited to attend both days. The general public is invited to attend April 20.
During the job fair people will be able to learn more about open positions and meet with management.
In 2002 the tribe stopped operating Class II gaming. The tribe had been making $1 million a month from the casino. A court ruled against the tribe and the casino was forced to close.
In 2015 the National Indian Gaming Commission ruled in favor of the tribe that reinstated their federal recognition. This gave the tribe the right to sovereign reservation land. Allowing for the casino to reopen. In November an announcement was made that they were given permission to reopen the casino and offer their electronic gaming.
The opening date for the casino has not been released.
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