By Steve Beauregard
Unfortunately for Dallas area residents and visitors wanting to play some slots, blackjack, or craps, there aren’t any casinos in Dallas. There are, however two casinos within a short driving distance, and many more if you’re willing to drive further.
The closest casino to Dallas, Texas, (as measured from downtown), is the WinStar World Resort Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. It’s about 80 miles up the road on Interstate 35.
The WinStar, which happens to be the largest casino in the U.S., sits on the southernmost part of Oklahoma, just a stone’s throw from the Texas/Oklahoma border on the Red River. It’s exactly 80.4 miles from downtown Dallas, or 129 kilometers.
The massive WinStar casino complex encompasses over 500,000 square feet of casino floor space alone. Bloomberg recently reported that the WinStar sees 3.6 million visitors annually, and that 90% of them (roughly 3.2 million) come from the Dallas area.
Most of the time, it would take you between an hour and an hour and a half to drive from Dallas to the WinStar, depending of course, on what part of the Dallas area you start from. From Denton, for example, it’s just a 40 minute drive.
The casino has thousands of slot and video poker machines of course, along with all the table games found at casinos in Las Vegas, including regular roulette and dice-based craps.
(Here’s a map showing you the WinStar (“B”) from Dallas)
Peak traffic times, as you might imagine, are on Friday afternoons. Those leaving for the WinStar on a Friday night can experience driving times of up to 2 and ½ hours. Google maps says the absolute worst time to drive from Dallas to the WinStar is at 5 p.m. on Fridays.
On a side note, the Dallas Cowboys recently formed an official partnership with the WinStar, becoming the first NFL team to have a casino partner.
Dallas to The Choctaw Casino Resort
The second closest casino to Dallas is the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma, which is 94 miles away from downtown Dallas – 14 miles further than the Winstar.
However for some Dallas suburbs, (like McKinney for example), the Choctaw is actually a little closer than the WinStar.
Like the WinStar, the Choctaw is a massive hotel and casino that would fit right in with the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. For example, it has 4,100 slot machines. That’s more than many of the mega-resorts on the Strip.
(Here’s the map from downtown Dallas to the Choctaw Casino)
Distance from Dallas to the Closest Casinos
Here are mileage distances from Dallas-area cities to the both the WinStar World Casino Resort and the Choctaw Casino Resort. Here we are including only cities that have at least 100,000 residents.
In some cases the differences between the two casinos are significant. From Denton, for example, the Choctaw is twice as far away as it is from the nearby WinStar. Other mileage figures can be deceiving based on traffic on I-35 to the WinStar, or on U.S. 75 to the Choctaw. In many cases, you may be able to drive to the Choctaw faster than you could the WinStar, even if the distance is a little further. (And vice-versa).
In any case, here are the exact distances from Dallas-area cities to the nearest casino, as measured by the fastest route via Google Maps. Usually Google uses a city municipal building as the starting point.
(Here’s a breakdown of the distances from Dallas-area cities to both the WinStar and Choctaw casinos)
City – WinStar – Choctaw Casino
Dallas – 80.2 miles – 94 miles
Arlington – 84.4 miles – 110 miles
Plano – 77.5 miles – 72.4 miles
Garland – 83.2 miles – 83.3 miles
Irving – 76.3 miles – 96.4 miles
Grand Prairie – 82.4 miles – 105 miles
McKinney – 70.4 miles – 59.7 miles
Mesquite – 91.1 miles – 95.4 miles
Frisco – 64 miles – 66.7 miles
Carrollton – 64.3 miles – 82.4 miles
Denton – 40.8 miles – 80.5 miles
Richardson – 80.2 miles – 77.3 miles
Lewisville – 56.6 miles – 83.5 miles
Closest casino to Ft. Worth
Downtown Fort Worth is 74.1 miles from the WinStar (119 kilometers), or roughly an hour to an hour and half drive during most times.
In comparison, it’s 115 miles, (186 kilometers) from the Choctaw Casino in Durant. This equals a driving time of just under 2 hours in most cases.
Louisiana Casinos Close to Dallas
The neighboring towns of Shreveport and Bossier City are on the far northwestern corner of the state of Louisiana, and have a combined six riverboat casinos between them.
However these casinos are much further away than the two in Thackerville and Durant Oklahoma. The drive from Dallas to Shreveport is 188 miles, or close to a three hour drive.
Although casino gambling is very popular with many Texans, as evidenced by the enormous success of the Winstar and Choctaw casinos in southern Oklahoma, legalized gambling in Dallas in nowhere on the horizon.
The Texas state constitution prohibits casino gambling and there are significant legislative hurdles in place before there could even be a possibility for casinos to be built near Dallas.
So for now, Dallas-area residents and visitors would have to be content with making the drive up to either the WinStar or the Choctaw to get their gambling fix. And based on the fact 3.2 million do so annually, there appears to remain a huge, unmet demand for casinos in Dallas.
(Choctaw photo courtesy of Brad Holt via Flickr. WinStar photo courtesy of the WinStar World Casino and Resort).