POLK COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Those East Texans who love to try their luck have had to travel to Louisiana to play on slot machines. Starting Tuesday, right here in Polk County, the Alabama-Coushatta tribe had visitors from all over. They were enjoying electronic bingo machines at Naskila Entertainment.
Members of the Alabama-Coushatta tribe have waited years to end their gaming hall hiatus.
"We've been looking forward to this day for 14 years, and to see it come into fruition is amazing," said Carlos Bullock, the tribal spokesperson.
It was closed down over a decade ago up until a federal agency affirmed the tribe had the right to operate the Class II gaming facility, which hoses 365 electronic bingo machines.
"I'm at the Indian Reservation just playing and having a ball!" said Kathleen Baeur, a Livingston resident.
The gaming hall opened Tuesday at noon. Visitors filled Naskila Entertainment with money in hand ready to play closer to home.
"We can stay here in Texas and keep our money here!" Bauer said.
The machines are all bingo games with cards at the top of the machines, Bullock said.
There's a restaurant, gift shop, and both smoking and non-smoking sections. It's an attraction that he said will benefit the entire area.
"We're not only going to see the benefits in the tribe, but we're also going to see the benefits from the jobs we produce which is 200 jobs right now and growing," Bullock said.
Those jobs are accompanied by full health benefit packages, which Bullock says is the economic boost the tribe needs.
"This is our first phase. We are looking at expanding and seeing what else will come about to help us grow," Bullock said.
Meanwhile, visitors are just hoping to cash out.
"I already had a little bit of luck. I won $200!" Bauer said.
Bullock said one visitor has already won $5,000 dollars playing on one of the electronic bingo machines.