Scheduled to be up and running by January 2015, CEO of The Pride of Texas Casino, Vidal Conde, says that now, “We’re looking at having the ship here within the next 60 days, at least by the first quarter of 2016,” according to KRISTV.
While there are still some lingering issues that need to be worked out with both the cities of Corpus Christi and Aransas Pass, Conde was happy to set a new launch date for the new casino cruise ship. Conde said, “We’re asking for a simple ‘welcome letter’ so that we can start beginning the permitting process.”
Local media reports that Corpus Christi Marina officials say that as of now, Conde has not submitted any application to obtain a permit to lease the marina. Until Conde is further along in the development phase, which he’s only just begun, he won’t receive that “welcome letter,” according to Aransas Pass City Manager, Sylvia Carrillo. The City Manager said, “I haven’t even seen a sight plan to be able to tell you about a perspective construction dates or anything like that.” 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 has been postponed more than once since the original date set in October 2014. However, Conde now says that he’s “started the process at this time with the core of engineers to obtain the proper permitting on our venue there in Aransas Pass.” While Conde is hopeful that the ship will operate in Corpus Christie weekly as promised, he has yet to secure all of his investors.
On May 12 of this year the 155 foot long 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, Texas. Since then 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.
The Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass, owned and operated by the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, opened in 1996 and won a preemptive lawsuit when the court ruled that the casino’s “Lucky Tab II” machines qualified as Class II devices. In October of this year, Texas’s two other federally recognized tribes, the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (the Tigua tribe) and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, which were forced to close their casinos on sovereign land in 2002, finally had their right to operate affirmed by the National Indian Gaming Commission.