A look at the growth of Choctaw gaming
DURANT, Okla. (KXII) -We are halfway through Native American Heritage Month and News 12 has been highlighting the rich history of the Choctaw Nation.
Wednesday, we look at the amazing growth of Choctaw gaming.
“How it just literally exploded, it is the economic engine for the tribe,” said Wendy Carter, Choctaw’s Executive Director of Marketing for Commerce.
The Choctaw Nation has been in the gaming business for 36 years and it all started with a bingo hall, “drew crowds from many, many places,” said Carter.
After almost 20 years and law changes, Choctaw Bingo rebranded to Choctaw Casino in 2006, “had the addition of some slot machines, casino games,” Carter said.
What started with a single building in Durant grew into a three-tower casino and resort, with a variety of food and entertainment.
“Since bingo, many structures have been taken down and put up and lots of expansion has taken place. but it all started right where it stands right now,” added Carter.
Now, across ten and a half counties, the Choctaw Nation has three casinos and resorts, four stand alone casinos, and 15 Casino Toos which can be found at the travel plazas.
“A little quick option for someone on the road,” Carter said.
And the tribe has plans to keep expanding, “Choctaw landing, is located in Hochotown,” said Carter.
The Choctaw’s broke ground in June of 2022 and hope to welcome guests by spring.
“It’s going to be probably one of the most special, most culturally immersive resort experiences that we’ve been able to deliver so far,” Carter said.
While the nation won’t disclose how much gaming brings in annually, “I would say that it’s significant, all the hospitals, the services to the Choctaw people, all the expansion for the Choctaw nation, generally has been funded by the hospitality and gaming operations,” Carter added.
And to think it all began with a small bingo hall in 1987.
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