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Naskila Casino’s economic impact continues to grow

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Tribal Gaming in the United States ($Billions)Tribal Gaming in the United States ($Billions)

From Enterprise Staff

The total economic benefit of Naskila Casino continues to grow, with the facility injecting $212 million into the Polk County economy in 2022, according to a new report commissioned by the Texas Forest Country Partnership.

The study by the economic analysis firm TXP found that Naskila – the electronic bingo facility run by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas on its reservation near Livingston – is responsible for 825 permanent local jobs with a collective payroll of $22.5 million, including 400 jobs at the casino.

“This economic impact and these jobs would simply not exist without Naskila. Because 95% of Naskila’s customers come from outside of Polk County, and more than 80% come from outside the region, Naskila is an economic engine that benefits every stakeholder in the region,” the study says.

This is the third time that the Texas Forest Country Partnership has commissioned a study of Naskila’s impact. The amount of economic activity that Naskila generates has grown from $140 million in 2018 and $170 million in 2020 to $212 million today. During that same period, the number of jobs supported by Naskila has increased from 550 to 700 to 825.

“We are grateful that our guests, our employees and our neighbors in Deep East Texas have allowed the impact of Naskila Casino to continue to grow,” Ricky Sylestine, Chairman of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council, said. “This facility helps sustain our tribe and our region.”

Beyond the benefits to those directly employed, revenues from Naskila provide funding on the reservation for scholarships, additional housing, as well as supporting a health clinic, day care center, and retail shops that serve the tribe and the surrounding community.

Naskila Casino is the second-largest employer in Polk County, the study found. The average salary and benefits package for Naskila employees is $50,000.

“The growth of Naskila’s success is very good for Polk County,” Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy said. “Naskila draws visitors into our region and provides stable income and benefits for its employees. We know that Naskila will continue to play an important role in our county’s future.”

After a long legal fight between the tribe and the State of Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court last year affirmed the tribe’s right to offer electronic bingo. The tribe continues to work with members of the U.S. Congress to support legislation that would put the tribe under the same regulatory framework – the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act – as hundreds of other tribes across the country, including the Kickapoo Tribe in Eagle Pass, Texas.

Cathy Bennett, chair of the Texas Forest Country Partnership, which is an economic development organization serving the 12-county region of Deep East Texas, said, “We have been honored to have the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas as a member of our organization and were thrilled once again to request an updated impact study to verify what was already apparent. Naskila’s economic impact is very important to our region, especially since we are basically rural.”

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has the oldest reservation in Texas, located on approximately 10,200 acres near Livingston. The tribe is a fully functioning sovereign government with a full array of health and human services, including law enforcement and emergency services. There are more than 1,400 members, about half of whom live on the reservation. The tribe is governed by an elected tribal council and advised by the principal chief and second chief.

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