County supports local tribe in dispute

East Texas registered voters — as well as statewide voters — support the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe’s right to continue to operate its electronic bingo entertainment facility according to two polls conducted by Ragnar Research partners.

Ragnar Research conducted the poll of 600 likely voters across East Texas in addition to a statewide poll of 1,000 likely voters. Interviews were conducted April 28-30, 2019 by telephone, including landlines and cell phones. Respondents were quantified by age, education, ethnicity, gender, and region to ensure a representative distribution. The East Texas study’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent. The statewide poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.

“Voters across East Texas clearly feel that reservations should be allowed to offer electronic bingo games to the public. Voters believe that offering these games benefits the local economy. In addition, a majority of voters object to the state shutting down electronic bingo gaming on reservations,” said Chris Perkins, principal of Ragnar Research.

Congressman Brian Babin (R-Woodville) has introduced a bill in Congress that would allow the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe to continue offering electronic bingo at its Naskila Gaming venue.

Key findings from the statewide survey of registered voters includes the following:

• 67% support allowing electronic bingo on the reservation

• 64% agree that electronic bingo benefits the overall economy

• 65% are in favor of Congressional bill to allow electronic bingo

“Opposition to the state shutting down electronic bingo gaming is in line with voter support (65%) for legislation that would ensure reservations are able to continue operating on their lands. This support is found across the entire state of Texas and is not dependent on party affiliation,” said Perkins.

"These polls clearly demonstrates that the Alabama-Coushatta has strong support for its electronic bingo operation in East Texas and across the state," Cecilia Flores, Tribal Council Chairperson, said. "Our Tribe is very grateful for all the support we have received. More importantly, we are so thankful to the thousands of Texans who are voicing that support directly to our state elected officials and our federal elected officials in Washington, D.C."

Flores also pointed to the continuing outpouring of support the Alabama-Coushatta were receiving from elected bodies throughout the region.

"This poll is only the latest indication that the people of East Texas want to keep Naskila Gaming open," Flores said. "In addition, city and county governments across the region are also passing formal resolutions of support which I believe will carry great weight with the Texas delegation in Congress.

"We need everyone's help to insure passage of Congressman Brian Babin's House Resolution 759."