After efforts to bring his Pride of Texas Casino Ship to Corpus Christi failed, Vidal Conde is now hoping the Aransas Pass city council is receptive to the idea. According to Conde, he has purchased property in Aransas Pass and he is ready for his casino ship and hotel to open. Conde wants to dock his Pride of Texas Casino on land located along Conn Brown Harbor in Aransas Pass, Texas.
Conde has purchased $1 million worth of land along State Highway 361, which passes through Aransas Pass and Port Aransas near Corpus Christi. But before he can begin construction, he needs to obtain permits from the Army Corps of Engineers. Conde wants to build a permanent boat dock along with a hotel next to the Aransas Queen Casino ship. In May 2015, former Jacks or Better cruise ship, the Aransas Queen, received final approval from the Coast Guard and made her maiden voyage into international waters out of Aransas Pass.
Aransas Pass’ city manager, Sylvia Carrillo, says the city wants to ensure the project is a good one. She added, “We are not in the same position as Corpus Christi with tickets being sold and the project not coming to fruition, so we still have a lot of due diligence before we let Mr. Conde gets some space down on the harbor,” as reported by KIII 3 News.
The cruise ship’s maiden voyage that was set for January of this year was sold out with 1,000 tickets being purchased, but the launch date had been postponed more than once since the original date set in October 2014. At that time, Conde said they were expecting the casino ship to be in Corpus Christie within 60 days, or at least by the first quarter of 2016. However, Corpus Christi Marina officials said at the time, Conde had not submitted any application to obtain a permit to lease the marina. Since that plan failed, Conde has switched gears and is now focused on launching his Pride of Texas Casino ship out of Aransas Pass.
Since the Aransas Queens maiden voyage last May, the new casino has been the subject of a flurry of questions, especially considering only the Texas Lottery; pari-mutuel wagering, charitable bingo, pull-tabs, raffles, and one Native casino are permitted in the state. The Texas Treasure Casino Cruise was the last cruise ship to operate out of Port Aransas, and that casino last sailed in 2008. Once a ship reaches international waters, which happens approximately 45 minutes from shore, Texas gambling laws are of no consequence.