- Caesars Entertainment has been named as the ‘Official Casino Partner’ of the NFL Houston Texans.
- Texas residents have very little in the way of gambling freedom other than the state lottery and parimutuel horse racing.
- In late July, Caesars became the new naming sponsor of the Superdome in New Orleans.
The state of Texas likes to give lip service to ‘freedom’, but that only applies to right wing fundamentalist Christian loons. Everyone else is a second class citizen and this subordinate status definitely applies to gaming enthusiasts. In fact, few states have been more hostile to the rights of their citizens to spend their money and recreate how they see fit.
Although the state likes to celebrate their roots as the heart of the ‘Wild West’ but when the Texas Territory became a state any number of personal freedoms went out the window. The state’s initial constitution banned all types of gambling. Proponents were able to legalize parimutuel betting in 1934–the height of horse racing’s popularity in the US. Unfortunately, the religious zealots in the state were able to get it banned once again in 1937. It would remain illegal until 1987 with simulcasting added in 1991. The state lottery began operation in 1992 with a pedestrian assortment of draw and scratch off games.
Texas has also gone overboard by spending tax payer money to deny Native American tribes the right to regulate gaming on tribal land. In the late 1990’s, a number of casinos and bingo halls opened on tribal land but were closed down again. Ultimately, the state would prevail and today there’s only a couple in operation-the largest is the Kickapoo tribe operated Lucky Eagle Casino Hotel near San Antonio on the border with Mexico offering slots, bingo and live poker.
The overall hostility of Texas toward gambling freedom doesn’t extend to the state’s NFL football teams. Ironically, the Dallas Cowboys were the first team in the league to have an ‘official casino sponsor’–the WinStar Casino Resort located just over the border with Oklahoma about 1 hour and 15 minutes from ‘the Metroplex’. The WinStar even has an officially licensed Dallas Cowboys Bar & Grill. Now, the state’s other team is getting in on the action. The Houston Texans and Caesars Entertainment have announced a partnership and promotional deal. As a result, Caesars is now the ‘Official Casino Partner’ of the team.
Texans President Greg Grissom is ‘thrilled’ to launch this multi-year deal which is effective immediately:
“I’m thrilled to launch this multi-year partnership with Caesars Entertainment. It aligns perfectly with our commitment to creating memorable experiences for our fans. We have some great events lined up for this upcoming season that fans will not want to miss, and this partnership with Caesars is just another example of how we continue to look for ways to enhance the experience.”
Chris Holdren, Co-President of Caesars Digital, is pleased to add another high profile name to his company’s sponsorship portfolio:
“Caesars Entertainment is committed to expanding relationships with leagues and professional sports teams, and we’re thrilled to team up with the Houston Texans. We look forward to creating extraordinary experiences for Texans fans by doing what we do best, leveraging Caesars Entertainment’s vast portfolio of casino, hospitality, entertainment, and sports expertise.”
This all has to do with the naming deal that Caesars signed in late July with the Superdome in New Orleans. Caesars isn’t the closest gaming property to Houston–that would be the Naskila Gaming tribal slots operation in Livingston, Texas just over an hour to the northeast. The usual coterie of Bible thumping freaks spearheaded an effort by the Texas government to shut them down but for now at least they’ve managed to survive thanks to action at the Federal level. In Louisiana, there’s a number of casinos along the I-10 corridor with the Golden Nugget Lake Charles likely the best of the bunch and just over two hours from Houston. New Orleans is a five hour drive from Houston (349 miles) but an easy one hour flight (assuming you take one of the multiple daily non-stops) that will set you back well under $200 round trip–most of the time you can get a round trip flight for less than $100. The Caesars property there is still known as Harrah’s New Orleans but will be re-branded as part of a $325 million USD upgrade
It’s a good move for Caesars to build their brand in Houston and this is a cost effective way to do it. There have been some attempts to bring casino gaming to Texas but don’t hold your breath. In a normal state, the jobs and revenue it would bring might be a compelling argument but not under a governor that doesn’t believe in science and sounds almost proud of Texas’ high COVID-19 death toll. Barring a seismic change, Texans will need to head to Oklahoma or Louisiana to enjoy the personal freedom that everyone deserves.