Choctaw Casino & Resort from Oklahoma opened its massive hotel and gaming floor facility addition earlier this month, which was worth around $600 million. The gaming property is 14 miles from the Texas border and it is seen as a way to draw North Texans players. Additionally, Choctaw is just an 88-mile drive from Dallas.
Some of the improvements that Choctaw added are more restaurants, a 21-story hotel that has around 1,000 rooms, as well as more gambling options. Talking to Casino.org, the chairman of the political science department at the University of Texas in Rio Grande Valley, Clyde Barrow, stated that Texans are responsible for a majority of Oklahoma’s gambling activity. According to him, Texans are spending around $2.5 to $3 billion on an annual basis while gambling at casinos in Oklahoma.
To Some Experts, These Numbers Are Not A Surprise
Mark P. Jones, a Rice University’s Baker Institute political fellow, also spoke to Casino.org and stated that Texans gambling massively at Oklahoma casinos is no surprise. He said that the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex alone has 6.4 million residents. Combined with the adjacent North Texas areas, the total population is two times higher than the population of Oklahoma.
Jones also added that a majority of Oklahoma casinos actually depend on players from Texas and, without them, a majority of the gambling facilities located in South Oklahoma are not economically stable. Regardless if players are coming from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex or other areas like Wichita Falls and Sherman, Oklahoma casinos are heavily dependent on them to make money.
Some gaming companies put in a lot of effort to open commercial casinos in Texas, but the political opposition has prevented them. Las Vegas Sands is one of those companies. Recently, it launched a new campaign that supports gambling expansion in Texas. However, the efforts didn’t prove to sway lawmakers.
Oklahoma Casinos Will Have a Negative Impact on Efforts in Texas
The casino expansion that takes place in Oklahoma will have a slightly negative impact in Texas, according to Jones. He said that Texas will remain a remote destination for the gambling industry for as long as Dan Patrick is the lieutenant governor and Greg Abbott is the governor.
But, he gave a small twist to the situation and said that if Texas decides to go forward with opening commercial casinos, most of the gambling facilities in South Oklahoma, including Choctaw Casino & Resort and Chickasaw Winstar World Casino & Resort, will begin shutting down or scaling back.
With that being said, the more Choctaw invests in the expansion of its casino services that target players from Texas, the harder they are going to dedicate to make sure that casinos in Texas are not opened. They will likely do that by lobbying and making campaign donations.
In Texas, the year 2023 is the scheduled year in which proposals concerning legal casinos will be back on the agenda, according to Barrow. Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston, said that, due to the lack of local gaming options, Texans will be looking for a good gaming experience in the neighboring states.
Rottinghaus concluded that large urban areas have a strong gaming demand and, as a result, gaming proponents in Texas are more than anxious to see expanded options in the state.