The Alabama-Coushatta tribe cannot seem to catch a break. Almost 15 years ago, the tribe was operating a casino in East Texas that was shut down by state officials due to the argument that state law overrides national Indian law. Casino gambling is not allowed in the state (except at one tribal casino in Eagle Pass) and the officials were able to see the Livingston area casino shut down over a decade ago. Back in May, the tribe reopened a venue that offer casino style gaming, only after the tribe was given the right to oversee gaming on their reservation by federal and Indian recognition. However, now the tribe is facing yet another fight as documents have been filed in federal court in Lufkin with state officials trying to shut down the tribe yet again.
Naskila Entertainment opened in May and offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy over 350 slot style gaming machines, open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The casino style facility is free of alcohol and provides simply an entertainment venue. According to a spokesman for Naskila Entertainment, Chuck McDonald, the facility has been doing well while remaining low key. Advertising has not been a priority and individuals have been visiting based on word of mouth. The casino has seen good crowds and this has been encouraging to the tribe according to McDonald.
Despite the good reception of the facility from residents, state officials are not happy. The Lufkin federal court recently saw documents filed that show the State of Texas has plans to file a contempt motion. This motion would ask officials to shut down Naskila Entertainment. The tribe is ready to fight back though, wanting to prove that the ruling set last year by Indian officials gives them a legal right to run the facility, offering Class II gaming based on the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
The facility, operating near Livingston, offers gaming machines under the Class II gaming ruling, with most of the machines offering only nickel and dime wagering. Higher bets can be placed of around $2 and $5 on specific machines. The gaming machines fall into the electronic bingo category which is listed under the Class II offerings.
Documents held by the Alabama-Coushatta tribe show that the facility was checked by Indian officials with the state before opening the venue, making sure they had followed proper protocols. These documents showed that the state agreed to forebear any enforcement action until after the gaming activities had been inspected. The inspection took place and state officials filed paper work in court to go forward with their case.