Tribal Organization: Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of 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 national Indian law 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 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 Entertainment 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.
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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 Tribes 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.
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