Land-based casino environment
Texas is the single greatest tragedy of gambling. Nowhere else can you find an area so steeped in gambling tradition with so few legal options available.
The most famous poker game in the world is named after the state itself, and yet, Texans are mostly unable to play poker within the borders of the state. The only current exceptions are the private poker clubs that are popping up around the state, and even these venues remain under a legal cloud.
There are no non-tribal casinos in Texas. Except for two somewhat-difficult-to-access tribal casinos — of which one is still fighting the state attorney general for its right to legally exist — Texans must drive to nearby states to play any other game of chance. Even the most recent available study from 2013 pegged Texans’ annual spend in these border casinos just shy of $3 billion.
Land-based slots environment
For slots players who don’t want to drive to Oklahoma, Louisiana, or New Mexico, there aren’t many good options in the Lone Star State. Unfortunately, many gamblers turn to underground eight-liner parlors. These operate illegally out of strip centers and business parks. They are constantly in danger of either being raided by law enforcement or robbed, sometimes with violent results.
Texans have two options – Lucky Eagle Casino and Naskila Entertainment Center.
While both casinos deserve attention, it’s important to realize that the sheer landmass of Texas is part of the reason these two options are so inadequate. In a smaller state, such as Delaware, two or three casinos might be enough to serve a statewide population of just under a million and a land area of around 2,500 square miles.
By contrast, Texas is the second-most populous state in the country (with 29 million and growing). It’s also the second-largest by area – a whopping 268,597 square-mile piece of ground. So, even though Texas does, in fact, have two casinos, driving to them is an arduous proposition.
The first casino of note is the Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass. Located within sight of the Mexican border, the Lucky Eagle is located on the Kickapoo reservation.
Due to their federal recognition under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Kickapoos opened the doors in 1996. The tribe has slowly but steadily built the property into a decent-sized affair. It is home to over 3,300 slot machines, a poker room, a bingo parlor, and several restaurants. There’s also a full-service hotel on the grounds. Just as a reference, this casino is about an hour-and-a-half by car from San Antonio. However, it’s three hours from Austin, five hours from Houston, and five hours or more from Dallas.
The other option is Naskila Gaming. This casino stands on the Alabama-Coushatta tribal lands just east of Livingston, a small town 90 miles northeast from Houston.
LAND-BASED SLOTS OPTIONS
|Property||Location||Number of Slot Machines
|Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino||Eagle Pass||3,300+
|Naskila Entertainment Center||Livingston||365