A TOUR OF THE ALABAMA-COUSHATTA’S LIVINGSTON GAMBLING TANGLES Adam Doster pens an update on the fate of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas’s 24-hour Naskila Gaming gambling center a few miles east of Livingston: The tribe, which reopened the rebranded gambling space in June after its 2002 closure by the state, is currently awaiting a trial date related to its array of not-quite-slot-machines. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton filed a federal motion in August to shut the machines down, citing the language of a 1987 act that law gave federal tribal recognition back to the Alabama-Coushatta (a status originally lost in 1954 as part of the broader mid-century federal status termination push). That 1987 law subjected both the Alabama-Coushatta and the Tigua Pueblo to Texas’s gambling restrictions, though the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act passed the following year, allowing certain types of gambling on reservation land with no state approval required. Both tribe’s first attempts to open gaming centers after that were shut down in 2002; the Kickapoo tribe’s Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel has been open in Eagle Pass since 1996, however, and the Tigua Pueblo have opened some new “entertainment centers” that have also come under recent scrutiny from Paxton’s office. [Houstonia] Photo of Naskila Gaming: Jim O.
SHOCKED TO FIND THAT GAMBLING IS GOING ON IN HERE Four people believed to be the owners of the Capri Game Room at 10418 Telephone Rd. (just north of Fuqua) were arrested recently on misdemeanor gambling-related charges, Craig Malisow reports. Across the street from the Capri is an HPD substation, and inside the structure, surrounded by a sea of blue-painted walls, are 122 video slot machines. The arrests have had a ripple effect on several other nearby game rooms, but Malisow is confident the changes will be temporary: “In a strip center just up the road, two others have closed. But the Just Gold game room a few hundred yards from the Capri is still open. The owner, Lourdes Rodriguez, is just one of many game room owners with landlords who won’t ask any questions as long as the rent is paid every month. While Just Gold, and this stretch of Telephone Road, is quiet for right now, the heat will blow over as it always does, and things will get back to normal. The promise of big money might just be an illusion for the suckers who play, but for the owners and vendors, the money is very real indeed.” [Houston Press] Photo: LoopNet
COMMENT OF THE DAY: GALVESTON OFFSHORE PLATFORM ECO-GAMBLING ESCAPES “. . . a ‘Santa Monica’ pier at The Flagship location would be golden, would be the DESTINATION for a lot of folks! But couldn’t there ALSO be an offshore gambling venue?? Imagine an elevator takes gamblers to a secret bullet-train in a tube, which whisks them to an oil derrick with gaming (no horse-racing, of course, haha!) The Island needs an injection of edgy intrigue since The Balinese is gone. Also, George Mitchell is another Player on Galveston; the gambling train could offer eco-tours to see Gulf habitat and thus receive some federal matching funds or something…” [movocelot, commenting on Roller Coaster on the Pier: Crunch Time for the Flagship Hotel]
How’s business at the world’s largest greyhound-racing venue? Not so brisk, reports the Houston Press:
The clubhouse and restaurant are now closed. There’s no more valet parking. Ebbs estimates that total attendance at Gulf on a good night is around 1,200. “When I got into it, dog and horse racing were the only games in town,” he says. “I’ve watched the whole gambling scene really blow up since the early ’90s. Greyhound and horse racing have gone from the only games in town to just one of many choices.”
But there’s hope to bring back customers:
Mike Parmetti, Gulf’s Marketing Director, is working on strategies to lure people to the track. Thursday is 50-cent draft beer night. There are Harley-Davidson giveaways and free trips to Las Vegas during the summer. On Fridays, there’s an all-you-can-eat crawfish buffet for $9.95. Then, there’s something called Dog Chip Bingo, advertised with this teaser: “If your puppy poops or pees in the right position, win a prize!”
Any better ideas?
Parmetti and Ebbs think slot machines — called Video Lottery Terminals at the tracks — might be the saving grace of Texas dog racing. They are convinced that slots will bring the dog tracks back to life without creating the sorts of vices gambling opponents fear. “You can’t create gambling problems,” Parmetti says. “If you could, we’d find a way to do it and pack this place out.”
Some Democrats, like State Sen. Rodney Ellis, have shown a willingness to support gambling because it would increase much-needed tax revenue. Year by year, the issue seems to be gaining traction. Without gambling, some say all the Texas tracks could be out of business in the next decade.
Photo of Gulf Greyhound Park: Flickr user HiggieFresh