The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe recently announced the finalization of a study that showed many East Texans support the tribe’s operation of their electronic bingo facility.

For years, the organization has battled the state over their right to operate the facility on the reservation. The study conducted two polls of likely voters across East Texas. The first was of 600 people and the second of 1,000 people. Their margin of error was plus or minus 4%.

“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 chairwoman, said.

The polls showed that 66% either somewhat or strongly supported allowing Indian tribes to offer electronic bingo games, 64% either somewhat or strongly agreed the games benefit state economy and only 16% felt the state of Texas should close bingo games.

“Voters across East Texas clearly feel that reservations should be allowed to offer electronic bingo games to the public,” Chris Perkins, principal of Ragnar Research, said. “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.”

The same report showed Republicans, Democrats and independents felt similarly and were in support of a bill that would allow tribes to continue operating their electronic bingo games.

Regionally, the group has received support from municipalities, chambers of commerce and county governments. The Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce is supporting the tribe.

“Our tribe is very grateful for all the support we have received,” Flores said.

“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.”

Jess Huff’s email address is jess.huff@lufkindailynews.com.