Naskila Entertainment is a small, slots-only casino in Polk County, Texas with an outsized impact on the local economy. In fact, it’s really an electronic bingo facility but visitors get the feeling they are playing slots and most people would never know the difference – much like playing at a video lottery terminal (VLT) in a huge New York City casino.
The casino is operated by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas on its Reservation near Livingston, about 75 miles north of Houston, a city of over two million people.
According to a report that was commissioned by the Texas Forest Country Partnership, the facility, directly and indirectly, pumped some $212 million into the county economy in 2022.
Casino Generates 800+ Permanent Jobs
TXP Inc. of Austin, the economic analysis firm that conducted the study reports that the operation is responsible for more than 800 permanent jobs, half of them at the casino, and a total payroll of $22.5 million a year collectively.
“This economic impact and these jobs would simply not exist without Naskila. Because 95 percent of Naskila’s customers come from outside of Polk County, and more than 80 percent come from outside the region, Naskila is an economic engine that benefits every stakeholder in the region,” the study stated.
According to a report in Blue Bonnet News, the Winter 2023 TXP study was the third one the Texas Forest Country Partnership had commissioned on the casino’s economic impact. The venue opened as a 15,000 sq ft slot parlor in 2016 and has had to fight until fairly recently to defend its operation as legal under the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Last summer the United States Supreme Court finally put overzealous Texas prosecutors to rest over the issue when the Court confirmed the gaming center’s standing.
Steady Increase in Economic Value
The first study, done in 2018 showed an economic impact of $140 million increasing to $170m in 2020 and continuing to grow to the current $212m arrived at in the current report found here, courtesy of the Liberty County news outlet. Overall direct and indirect jobs have grown from 550 to 700 and finally to 825 found today with nearly half of them part of the casino operation itself.
Chairman of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council, Ricky Sylestine commented on the study and its findings: “We are grateful that our guests, our employees, and our neighbors in Deep East Texas have allowed the impact of Naskila Casino to continue to grow,” he said. “This facility helps sustain our Tribe and our region.”
The average salary and benefits for a Naskila employee are $50,000 according to the report. The impact includes a variety of quality-of-life improvements for those who are employed directly or not in the area with funding for scholarships and additional housing on the Reservation as well as a retail center, health care clinic, and a daycare center.
“The growth of Naskila’s success is very good for Polk County,” said Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy. “Naskila draws visitors into our region and provides stable income and benefits for its employees. We know that Naskila will continue to play an important role in our county’s future.”
Source: Study finds Naskila Casino injects $212 million into local economy, Bluebonnet News, March 13, 2023