Speaking Rock Casino Works To Make Experience Worth The Long Drive

Written By TJ McBride on January 22, 2024
A band plays a show at Speaking Rock Casino on a story about the casino's gambling and entertainment amenities.

Speaking Rock Casino might be the furthest casino from every major city in Texas. But its entertainment center and Class II casino set it apart in a state where many of its residents travel out of state for fun and gambling.

The Speaking Rock Entertainment Center is what took center stage when the casino was prohibited from taking wagers. Concerts, comedy shows and other types of entertainment kept Speaking Rock – and the tribe that runs it – above water while fighting for its right to offer electronic bingo machines.

Now, with gaming back and the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center well established, the future looks bright.

Speaking Rock Casino has had to fight to exist in Texas

There are three Texas tribal casinos operating in The Lone Star State. All three offer electronic bingo gaming, but not traditional slot machines nor table games such as craps or blackjack.

All three casinos have had to fight for the right to offer slots-like gaming. Speaking Rock has been battling the state of Texas for 30 years.

The Tigua Indians of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo began pursuing its rights to open a casino on tribal land in 1993. The casino was opened the same year. Speaking Rock Casino remained open for 10 years before being shut down by the state of Texas.

At that point, Speaking Rock was unable to convince state leaders that it had a right to run a casino on its land. The tribe thought it was protected under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. They soon found out that the Restoration Act of 1987 barred them from offering casino gaming.

Despite the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo gaining federal recognition, there was language in the Restoration Act that prohibited gaming.

“All gaming activities which are prohibited by the laws of the state of Texas are hereby prohibited on the reservation and on lands of the tribe. Any violation of the prohibition provided in this subsection shall be subject to the same civil and criminal penalties that are provided by the laws of the state of Texas.”

Things remained shut down until 2016, when Speaking Rock reopened an entertainment center as opposed to a casino. Despite opening without gaming, the tribe never stopped fighting for its right to offer electronic bingo machines.

In 2022, the hard work of the tribe paid off. Speaking Rock Entertainment Center began offering electronic bingo machines. Speaking Rock’s rights to operate these machines was regained after a Supreme Court ruling.

‘Table’ games played on machines at Speaking Rock

While Speaking Rock’s website claims it has games that include, “slots, poker and blackjack,” these games are not in the traditional design. They are played on electronic bingo machines.

There is no updated number of games available at Speaking Rock, but before it was shut down, the casino floor housed 1,100 slot machines in addition to a couple hundred table games.

Food and drink options are affordable

The food and drink options might not astound, but there is something comforting about classic Tex-Mex food.

The Speaking Rock food menu includes the basics such as hot dogs, cheeseburgers, nachos, wings and chicken sandwiches, which are priced between $2 and $6. There are also tacos, gorditas, tortas and flautas for the Tex-Mex flavor. Those options also do not exceed $6 per item.

There is also a Speaking Rock Bar menu which includes beers from $2 up to $4. Margaritas are also available for $5 or $6, and different variations of alcoholic tea drinks are also on the menu for $6. Lastly, shots usually do not exceed $6.

The simple rule at Speaking Rock is no food or drink option – alcoholic or not – should exceed $7.

Everything is bigger in Texas, including drive to Speaking Rock Casino

Speaking Rock is the least accessible tribal casino in Texas. Essentially, it would take a minimum of seven hours to arrive to Speaking Rock from one of the five major cities in The Lone Star State. San Antonio is the closest in terms of time and distance, being 540 miles away.

For perspective, Speaking Rock is in a separate time zone than all five major Texas cities. The good news is you gain an hour when traveling to the casino from one of the major cities in Texas.

Here is the distance from each major city in Texas and how long it takes to get there by car:

  • Austin: 565 miles, seven hours and 45 minutes away
  • Dallas: 623 miles, eight hours and 14 minutes away
  • Fort Worth: 592 miles, seven hours and 47 minutes away
  • Houston: 733 miles, nine hours and 33 minutes away
  • San Antonio: 540 miles, six hours and 56 minutes away

To get in contact with Speaking Rock, it can be reached through at (915) 860-7777. There is also a contact page on its website for any additional information guests are searching for.

Speaking Rock can also be found on social media. Usually, the casino uses its Facebook account to convey most messages and market itself. The Speaking Rock Facebook page can be found here.

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TJ McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver, Colorado who covers the Denver Nuggets as a beat writer and the current gaming landscape in Texas. His byline can be found across many websites such as ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report, and others.

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