6 Years Strong: Naskila Gaming provides 700 jobs, housing for tribe members

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Published: May. 16, 2022 at 6:14 PM CDT|Updated: May. 16, 2022 at 7:17 PM CDT
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LIVINGSTON, Texas (KTRE) - Since opening in 2016, more than 5 million guests have visited Naskila Gaming according to an official press release. Vice Chairman of the Tribal Council, Nita Battise, said their success has been made possible by neighboring counties and 80 resolutions of support, which was the same information she presented before congressional leadership.

“They were impressed,” said Battise. “That spoke volumes. They understand the concept of economic development, yes, but yet when you show them the letters, over 80, that packed a punch.”

“Because the tribe exercised its sovereignty, we are able to build homes for our people,” said Ronnie Thomas, Treasurer of Tribal Council. “We are able to provide healthcare for our tribal citizens, and are able to increase the salaries for our tribal employees so that they can provide for their families.”

Naskila is the largest private-sector employer in Polk County and has 700 jobs tied to the facility. They continued to pay employees even during the pandemic shutdown. Executive Director of Jasper Economic Development Corporation, Eddie Hopkins, highlighted the importance of the Alabama-Coushatta tribe in his remarks.

“This tribe is a friend to Texas and the community, and y’all need to respect that and know that,” said Hopkins.

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe also broke ground on a new education center using money generated by Naskila Gaming. Chairman of the Tribal Council, Ricky Sylestine is proud of how far they have come.

“We are very proud of the facility and how far we have come in six years,” said Sylestine. “We started out just phase one, we’re into phase two. Still waiting on some supreme court and congressional fixes then from that we will move on to other things.”

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