Well, I guess it’s time for me to eat my words. Texas finally has a casino. It’s called the Naskila Casino owned and operated by the Alabama Coushatta tribe and it’s located in between Livingston and Woodville, north of Houston. Actually there are two other casinos in Texas situated on Indian reservations – one in El Paso and one at Eagle Pass. The one in El Paso is a Harrah’s Cherokee Casino on the western border of Texas and the Kickapoo Casino in Eagle Pass is in South Texas. Texas is so big that the two casinos that existed were so far away from Dallas or Houston, that it wasn’t really a viable option. It is a lot closer to drive to Louisiana or Oklahoma to play.
Texas has long since had horse racing and dog racing, as well as the lottery which included scratch-off’s, Mega Millions and Powerball games. It would only seem natural that casino gambling would follow, which it did. After Eagle Pass and El Paso opened casinos on Indian land, one would expect that the Indian Reservation at Livingston would follow suit. In 2001 the Alabama Coushatta tribe opened a casino on the very site where the lawmakers in Texas would close it in 2002 and then reopen the casino in 2016. John Cornyn was serving as Texas Attorney General at the time of the first opening and was still in office when the casino was closed nine months later. It was decided that Texas law would override Federal law and that casinos were illegal in Texas. Not only did the tribal members lose their jobs but were plunged into poverty for a second time. The area surrounding and including the reservation is very poor and there is a scarcity of jobs. The casino is now employing around 200 people from the tribe as well as the surrounding area to work in the casino and restaurant. Hopefully with success comes expansion and will lead to a larger facility and a hotel.
From my house the drive takes me about an hour and forty-five minutes. And to Lake Charles and Shreveport, Louisiana takes me a little over four hours. Not that Marie and I will trade in our preferences for Naskila, we will still make the trek to Louisiana and Oklahoma. Naskila does not at this time have table games, only slots. Which is fine with us since Marie doesn’t play the tables and I don’t always.
When you walk in the door you walk into the non-smoking section. Toward the back to the left is the smoking section in a closed-in area. Non-smokers will love it. I actually kind of enjoy the smell of fresh cigarette smoke, just not stale smoke. I quit smoking eleven years ago and still miss it.
I arrived at Naskila at 10 am and told my husband I would leave by 3 pm so I could get home before dark. Plus the road between my house and Naskila is like so many roads in Texas – under construction. As it turns out I was ready to leave by 3:00 because I had a very profitable day and wanted to leave while I was ahead. I had several good hits on Dragon’s Heat and several other machines I had never seen before. I had a ticket in my purse for over $300 so I decided to go back to the first machine I played when I first got there called High Voltage Blackout. I was hitting bonuses and multipliers and all of a sudden I hit wilds all across the screen except for one square. That spin paid $849 so with the credits I had in the machine I ended up cashing out $1400. I took the ticket to the cashout machine and got in my car and left.
It was a very good day and I am anxious to go back and take Marie to see what she thinks about it. I really had a good time and felt good about my wins. I hope the Indians do well with Naskila and pave the road for more in Texas. I have heard for years that Tilman Fertitta would like to develop casinos in Galveston, that since it is an island, it could legally happen. I am surprised it hasn’t yet, but I continue to hope.
Next week Marie and I will fly to Biloxi courtesy of the Beau Rivage. When we get back to Texas we will rest for one day before heading to the Artesian in Sulphur, Oklahoma. They sent us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Until our next trip report, the Slotsisters will be coming to a casino near you.