"I don't know what I like about it. I guess it's just the chance to win money," said Tai Ramirez. She drove 2 1/2 hours from Plainview. "I came with $300," said Neal Janek. He trekked 100 miles from Odessa. "I'm from Lubbock," said Guadalupa and Jesus. They brought $250 from the Hub City.
Four Texans at the grand opening of a casino in New Mexico. Black Gold Casino, aptly named given that officials expect a full 2/3 of their revenue to come from Texas residents. "Texas is going to be a huge part of what it is," said Casino President Bruce Rimbo, rolling out the red carpet for cash carrying visitors from the east. "Right now we're guessing the 2/3 to 70% of business will be from Texas because that's where the population is," he said.
787,000 people, mostly Texans, live within 100 miles of Hobbs, the latest city to take advantage of a Texas no-no. "Ruidoso lives off of Texas," laughed Janek. He's traveled far and wide to gamble, and says he'd support a change in Lone Star legislation to allow gambling. "It would be supported big time," he said.
Big time also describes the economic expectations casino owners have for Black Gold. At Monday's opening, 1,200 people waited to pump money into 600 slot machines. Proving you don't have to own an oil field to strike Texas 'tea'. "Any extra money, I'm coming here," said Jesus.