25,000 Texans urge state lawmakers to save Naskila Gaming

Patrons at Naskila Gaming in Polk County play electronic games.

Texans have sent more than 25,000 letters over the past year asking some of the state’s top elected officials to support 700 East Texas jobs tied to Naskila Gaming.

Naskila Gaming is the electronic bingo facility operated by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas near Livingston. For years, Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn have worked to shut down Naskila — a decision that would have a devastating economic impact on East Texas.

Since last fall, more than 25,000 visitors to Naskila have sent letters to Abbott or Cornyn, pleading with them to support federal legislation that would keep the facility open. Both Abbott and Cornyn have spoken out against that federal legislation — putting Naskila’s jobs in peril.

“The people of Texas expect our Governor to protect Texas jobs, but that’s not what Governor Abbott is doing,” said Nita Battise, Chair of the Tribal Council of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. “Governor Abbott and Senator Cornyn could really help the economy of East Texas by supporting the employees of Naskila Gaming. Instead, they have put our region at risk of serious economic harm, and the thousands of Texans who visit Naskila each week are taking notice.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. House gave bipartisan approval to H.R. 2208, which would clarify that Naskila Gaming is regulated by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). By putting Naskila under IGRA, the federal government would effectively stop the State of Texas’ ongoing effort in court to shut down Naskila and an electronic bingo facility operated by the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Tribe in El Paso. 

The U.S. House passed similar legislation in 2020, but the U.S. Senate failed to act on the bill after Abbott and Cornyn voiced opposition to it. The two have again spoken out against H.R. 2208 as it awaits Senate action. Without H.R. 2208’s passage into law, the state’s ongoing legal action could eventually force the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe to close Naskila and put its employees out of work.

Despite the intransigence of Abbott and Cornyn, Naskila Gaming has strong and bipartisan support throughout East Texas. More than 70 civic and business groups have formally approved statements in support of Naskila. In addition, Naskila visitors have eagerly signed letters in recent months calling on Abbott and Cornyn to reverse their opposition.

Texans are taking note of Abbott’s opposition as he accelerates his 2022 campaign for re-election.

“If Governor Abbott has his way, hundreds of East Texans will lose their jobs,” Chairwoman Battise said. “The thousands of letters that have been sent to him demonstrate the grassroots support that Naskila enjoys, and we ask that he please listen to these Texans. Protecting jobs should be one of a Governor’s highest priorities. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with Governor Abbott and Senator Cornyn to discuss this issue, but so far, they have not answered our repeated requests for meetings.”

Naskila Gaming is the second-largest employer in Polk County. According to a 2020 study by the Texas Forest Country Partnership, Naskila provides a $170 million annual economic benefit to East Texas. For more information, please visit SupportACTribe.com.

10 COMMENTS

  1. What else can we do as citizens who want Naskila to stay open? We have signed the petition. We really enjoy this facility and it is very nice and well maintained and employees are super nice.

    • What are you talking about! They have been here from their beginning! My daughter works out there and she really enjoys all the people that come from all over Texas and from out of state as well! And her bosses too! Let them stay open, you might need some votes when you come up for re election you know! My daughter really enjoys working out there, they are great people! Leave everything as it is!!!

  2. Ha! Liberty county Republicans all of a sudden hate Republicans! Typical. Republicans only care about things that personally affect them. #VoteBlueTexas

    • Susan I think you should study more and learn to read County maps. The Casino is in Polk County not Liberty County. Maybe the State should work more on shutting the illegal Game Rooms down that’s in every town.

      • Bill I think you need to study more and learn something. The Bluebonnet News is published in Liberty county. Hence my reference to Liberty county readers. Duh.

  3. There has been talk behind closed doors for years about Texas opening up casino gambling across the State. These discussions became public for a short time when over a decade ago the Houston Chronicle published an article on casino gambling in Texas.Those mentioned in the article discussing the monetary benefit of casinos and how they should be managed were politicians and high ranking officers of large corporations. They all agreed that if casino gambling was approved casinos should be located only in the major cities of Texas, i.e., Houston, Dallas,
    Fort Worth, San Antonio, etc. Why? Because it would be much easier for players to access a casino. Basically if casino gambling was approved only the rich and powerful would manage casinos and reap the profits. Thus proving again how little those in position to help our Texas Native Americans care about them and the people for whom their casinos provide much needed jobs.

    • Federal government highly regulate the Indian Casino baseball places All Over Texas grocery stores Filling Station to check her that has the gaming machines are not regulated for the Gunner most of the people that have the station and these games are of the foreign nationalities and because of the new cryptocurrency they are able to move money out of the country freely state of Oklahoma has one of the largest casino in the United States and Rihanna has several they’re taking one half of a billion dollars a year out of the state of Texas. oil resources are drying up.We are no longer the big dog we need to keep Texas money in Texas. The federal Regulators and Indian CasinosAre extremely conscious a out keeping the Gamming industry honest on the Reservations . The Indian Casino has a TribalCouncil who Live And work in Texas . The Native AmericansAre the true and rightful owners of the land and The Bureau of. Indian Affairs Is An independent Regulatory institution From The Federal Government Who are over seen and Regulated Through Justice Dept.
      keep Our Money in Texas ,keepour Schools,Roads And infrastructure Here. GOLDEN Nugget owned by 1 man .Yhe other Casinos are a. International conglomerate Harras ect. (EXCEPT Indian Casinos)
      We owe our Native Americans the Right to honest Employment

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