East Texas leader voices support to allow Alabama-Coushatta tribe to keep gaming facility

East Texas leader voices support to allow Alabama-Coushatta tribe to keep gaming facility

LIVINGSTON, Texas (KTRE) - An East Texas leader is voicing her support for the Alabama-Coushatta tribe in its efforts to keep a gaming facility open.

A recent study shows Naskila gaming brings more than a million dollars to East Texas every year.

Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy who supports the tribe said it’s our turn to be good neighbors.

“Vendors, suppliers, individuals,” Murphy said. “Are receiving job opportunities or they’re providing services or providing services goods, products to Naskila and the tribe.”

Murphy said these groups benefit from having the Alabama-Coushatta tribe gaming facility in their region.

Last fall, an economic development study produced for the non-profit Texas Forest Country shows benefits for Polk County increased with the opening of Naskila back in 2016.

The class two electronic gaming facility injected $18 million in the local economy just during its construction.

But since the opening, the gaming facility has generated almost $119 million and that figure continues to climb to $139 million of revenue flowing through Polk County.

“Why would you want money to leave here, let’s take the elderly again for them to drive to Louisiana, spend the night in Louisiana and then drive back,” Murphy argued.

One resident said she doesn’t gamble but welcomes Naskila because it creates more stable jobs.

“It’s expanding and I have several friends that work there and they couldn’t find jobs anywhere else. But I also know ones that have quit their jobs to go out there and work full time and pick up another part-time job because they do offer such great benefits,” said Christie West, a resident.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote after the July 4 holiday on a bill that would allow the Alabama-Coushatta tribe to operate their facility.

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