In most states, casinos are on Indian reservation property because that’s the only way they are legal. According to the National Indian Gaming Commission’s Gaming Tribe Report, as of July, 2011, there were 460 Indian gaming operations in the United States. Thirty-six states (perhaps more by now) have Indian casinos.
Although we in Texas have not been favored with legalized gambling, here are five Indian casinos offering lodging, gaming, and other activities and they’re not too far away.
Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino
The only casino in Texas is at the Texas Kickapoo Reservation in Maverick County along the Rio Grande River on the border between the U. S. and Mexico. At last look, the Lucky Eagle was the smallest casino of the five at about 16,000 sq. ft. But, being only 100 miles south of San Antonio, at Eagle Pass, it makes for a convenient destination for many Texans. The hotel features 250 rooms; an RV park is available with hook-ups.
Coushatta Casino Resort
Handy to East and Southeast Texas, 175 miles east of Houston, Coushatta Casino Resort is located in Kinder, Louisiana. As one of the larger casinos, it comes in at 108,000 sq. ft. The Coushatta offers lodging in a 284-room hotel, a 195-room inn, or in 100 cottages. A large RV park with hook-ups adjoins the property. Also available nearby, is the Koasati Pines at Coushatta Golf Course, a Par 72 layout with six sets of tees.
Inn of the Mountain Gods
Just 110 miles northeast of El Paso via U.S. 54, at Mescalero, New Mexico, is the Casino at the Inn of the Mountain Gods. Being in the Sierra Blanca mountain range, golf is available in the summer months at their 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course. In the winter, there’s skiing and snowboarding at Ski Apache near Ruidoso. The casino measures 38,000 sq. ft., and the hotel features 273 rooms.
Choctaw Casino Resort
Claiming to be the closest casino to Dallas, Choctaw Casino Resort is located just south of Durant, Oklahoma. It’s an expansive casino at 110,000 sq. ft., and the Choctaw Grand Tower, an upscale hotel offers 330 rooms. But, I challenge their claim that it is the closest casino to Dallas. Still, it’s less than 100 miles, so it’s certainly handy.
WinStar World Casino Resort
WinStar is the largest casino of the five, at over 170,000 sq. ft. and growing, claiming to be the largest casino in the world. A mile north of the Red River on Interstate 35, the original hotel tower offers 395 rooms; the newly opened Pool Tower North has 500 rooms, and the soon-to-be- completed Pool Tower South will provide an additional 500 plus. For the golfer, there’s a 27-hole course, complete with teaching academy.
For the record, I have no vested interested in any of the five casinos; I have an interest because of what I’ve left behind at each of them — but it isn’t vested.
National Indian Gaming Commission report: