By Steve Beauregard
Visitors and residents to America’s 4th largest city will have to travel a bit if they want to scratch their gambling itch, as the closest casino to Houston is 143 miles away.
And here were talking about real casinos, with slot machines, table games, restaurants, entertainment venues and the like. There are a few slot-machine only casinos a little closer, but the Houstonian looking for a traditional full gambling experience will have to travel to Lake Charles, Louisiana, 143 miles from downtown Houston.
The drive from Houston to Lake Charles is entirely on Interstate 10. Depending on when you leave, the drive (from downtown Houston) to these closest casinos takes from between 2 and 2 ½ hours.
Lake Charles is a city of around 75,000 people located 20 miles east of the Texas/Louisiana border. While there are numerous small slot-only casinos around town, there are three major, Las Vegas style casinos that capture the vast bulk of the Houston area gambling crowd.
They three major Lake Charles casinos are The Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, The L’Auberge Lake Charles, and the The Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lake Charles.
The L’Auberge and Golden Nugget sit next to each other on the Contraband Bayou, and are connect via a boardwalk.
(Here’s a map where “B” represents the drive to Lake Charles. The Yellow pin is the Delta Downs slots-only casino.)
Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino
The newest of the Lake Charles casino trio, the Golden Nugget opened in December of 2014 at a cost of $700 million.
A recent $100 million addition has brought to hotel capacity to 1,090 rooms. There are also an a concert hall, meeting space, 8 shops, 12 restaurants, 7 bars, and an 18 hole golf course.
In addition to the casino’s 1,600 slot machines and video poker machines, there are 77 table games, all with a $10 minimums. These games include blackjack, craps, (with 20x odds), roulette, Mississippi Stud, baccarat and the like.
The 6 table poker room spreads $4/8 limit and both $1/3 and $2/5 No-Limit Texas Hold’em.
Address and Phone
2550 Golden Nugget Blvd.
Lake Charles, LA 70601
L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles
Next door to the Golden Nugget, the L’Auberge matches its neighbor in size and amenities.
The hotel’s 26 story tower has just over 1,000 rooms, and – like the Golden Nugget – the resort has its own 18 hole golf course.
L’Auberge has 8 restaurants, 4 bars, retail shops, pools, spa, arcade, and even a barber shop.
The 70,000 square foot casino has the same number of slot machines and video poker machines as its neighbor, 1,600, but just a few more table games, 80, to be exact. These include craps, blackjack, roulette, 3-card poker, Pai Gow and all the usual favorites.
The 2,100 square foot poker room has 8 tables and numerous daily high-hand promotions.
777 Avenue L’Auberge
Lake Charles, LA. 70601
Phone: (337) 395-7777
Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lake Charles
The Isle of Capri sits right on Lake Charles, just north of the other two resorts. At 141 miles away it is the closest of the big three casinos to Houston. (But only by two miles).
It’s also the smallest of the Lake Charles three, with half the hotel rooms of the other two resorts, at 493 rooms in two different towers. There are three restaurants onsite.
The casino has 1,150 slots and video poker machines, and 35 table games. There are however, $5 blackjack games here.
In addition, the Isle of Capri has the largest poker room in the area, with 13 tables, spreading $4/8 limit, $1/3 No-Limit, and Pot Limit Omaha games as well.
100 Westlake Avenue,
Westlake, LA, 70669
Closest Casino to Houston
If you want to get technical, the closest casino to Houston is one of the slot-only joints found off of I-10 on the way to Lake Charles. The biggest among them is the Delta Downs Racetrack/CasinoHotel in Vinton, Louisiana.
I only don’t count it as the closest casino because it doesn’t have any table games, and I love to play table games.
If you’re OK with just slots however, you’ll find this casino to be far different that the little slot-only joints that you’ll find along I-10 and in Lake Charles.
First off, it has a spacious 370 room hotel, with three restaurants, bars, a food court and an events center.
This casino is large too, with 1,600 slot machines and video poker machines to choose from, along with horse betting of course.
Delta Downs is 121 miles away from downtown Houston. Google Maps indicated it would take you between 1 hour 40 minutes (during slow traffic times) up to 2 and ½ hours to drive there.
Other Casinos Close to Houston
Those of you driving from Houston to the casinos in Lake Charles will find numerous slot-only casinos along the way on I-10 in Vinton and Sulphur. These are all non-descript joints, many attached to a gas station or strip mall.
These include the following, along with their respective distances from Houston:
Border Town Casino and Smoker’s Paradise – 117 miles away
Cash Magic Texas Pelican – 117 miles away
Lucky Delta Casino – 120 miles
Wajun Cajun – 136 miles
Distances from Houston suburbs to the closest casino in Lake Charles, LA:
Sugar Land: 162 miles
Pearland: 148 miles
Pasadena: 137 miles
Baytown: 122 miles
Conroe: 145 miles
* The large Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder, Louisiana is 180 miles from Houston.
* Baton Rouge casinos are 276 miles away, while New Orleans casinos are 350 miles away, albeit just over an hour’s flight.
(Related: Closest casino to San Antonio)
* The most popular casinos for Dallas-area residents are the WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma, (319 miles from Houston), and the Chocotaw Casino Resort, 329 miles away. However these are only for the die-hards, or those of you planning to stay a night or two, as the drive to either resort would take you from between 4 hours to over 6 hours.
* Other slot-only casinos in Lake Charles or nearby areas include the Jackpot Junction Casino, Sulphur Truck Stop & Casino, Cash Magic Winner’s Choice, King’s Palace, EZ Aces Casino, Royal Palace, and Cash Magic Lake Charles.
(Photos courtesy of VisitLakeCharles.com, the Golden Nugget Lake Charles, and Carnaval.com Studios via Flickr.)