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Casinos in Houston

Houston doesn’t have casinos yet and it could be years before they arrive. We’ll explain why on this page.

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Houston is one of the largest cities in the U.S., and as such carries loads of entertainment options. However, you won’t find any casinos in Houston, as Texas law prohibits casino gambling unless the gaming facility is on tribal lands.

In this piece, we’ll take a look at what would need to change to allow casinos to operate in Houston as well as how to safely and legally gamble in the state until casino laws change statewide.

Are there any physical casinos in Houston?

No, there are no physical casinos in Houston. The only way to play casino games is to play at a sweepstakes/social casino where you aren’t playing for money. Otherwise, you will need to travel to one of Texas’ three tribal casinos to scratch your gambling itch.

Texas outlawed all forms of gambling in 1903. While there have been some rollbacks since to include lottery gaming and bingo (in most counties, though there are a few holdouts), casinos are still prohibited.

Recent efforts to legalize casino gaming have mostly stalled, particularly because the Texas legislature only meets every other year. This tends to mean gambling gets pushed to the side for other more pressing issues. House Bill 2843 was introduced during the 2023 session with the aim of legalizing casinos statewide but the bill did not advance before the end of the last session.

Are any casinos opening in Houston soon?

No, there aren’t any casinos opening in Houston any time soon. Texas state law prohibits casino gambling that isn’t held on tribal lands, and none of the state’s three federally recognized tribes has land in Houston.

The closest casino in the area is Naskila Casino in Livingston, roughly an hour and a half by car from central Houston. Naskila is owned and operated by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe and is a Class II gambling facility. This means you won’t find games like roulette, craps, blackjack, or slot machines, but you’ll still find plenty of entertainment at Naskila.

Different games you could play at Houston casinos if they open

Since the only casinos in Texas are operating on tribal lands under the guidelines of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, it’s likely that if Houston was allowed to open casinos the permissible games would be similar to those already in operation. In other words, the jump to expand everything to a Class III facility would probably be too big a leap to make, so slot machines, blackjack dealers, roulette wheels, and craps tables would still have to wait for some time before arriving in the Lone Star State.

Instead, these games are likely to be the more realistic options.

  • Slot-style games: While slot machines that use a random number generator (RNG) to determine reel rates and winning combinations are limited to Class III facilities, Class II operations can use machines that are closer in nature to pull-tabs or bingo when playing.
  • Bingo: There are still a few Texas counties that are holding out on legalizing bingo (28, to be exact), but if casino gaming becomes legal and a facility opens in Houston, bingo and bingo style games are likely to be among the first options offered.
  • Non-banked card games: Non-banked card games are games where you’re playing against others at the table rather than against “The House.” Typically, the casino will take a percentage of the game’s buy-in amount or winnings when you collect.

FAQ

Are casinos in Houston legal?

No, casinos in Houston are not legal. Texas law bans casino gambling unless the gaming facility is located on federally recognized tribal lands, which does not include Houston. Real money online casinos in Texas are also illegal, but you are permitted to use online social/sweepstakes casinos.

What are the nearest casinos to Houston?

The nearest casinos to Houston still require a hefty amount of travel, and in some cases, it may be quicker to fly than to drive to the gambling facility if you’re staying in Texas (Louisiana will have some casinos closer than Texas options). Naskila Casino in Livingston is the closest but is about an hour and a half away if you’re driving; otherwise, you’ll need to travel around 350 miles to get to Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass or 735 miles to make it to Speaking Rock in El Paso.

How far do I have to travel from Houston to reach a casino?

You will have to travel roughly 90 miles from Houston to reach a casino, specifically Naskila Casino in Livingston. The other casinos in Texas are much farther away (350 miles to Kickapoo Lucky Eagle, 735 to Speaking Rock), meaning some Louisiana casinos are closer than in-state options.

Can I find traditional casino table games like blackjack and poker near Houston?

No, you will not find traditional casino table games like blackjack and poker near Houston. Many forms of casino gambling, including blackjack and poker, are still illegal under Texas law, and none of the state’s tribal casinos are authorized to run such games.

Are there any casino resorts near Houston with accommodations?

No, there aren’t any casino resorts near Houston with accommodations. The closest casino to Houston is Naskila Casino in Livingston, but it does not have a hotel on the grounds (there are two restaurants at the venue). Instead, you’ll need to look to one of the nearby hotels for a place to stay.