The addition adds 40 additional poker tables and 3,300+ new slot machines, bringing the total number of poker tables and slot machines to 136 and 7,200, respectively. Consumer demand, according to Choctaw authorities, was the driving force for the extension of the Durant tower, which is about 80 miles from Dallas.
The skyscraper, which will open to gamblers on August 6, will have 1,000 additional hotel rooms, six restaurants, 11 bars, and a 3-acre pool area with two pools. The expansion also adds 40 additional poker tables and over 3,300 new slot machines, bringing the total number of poker tables and slot machines at Choctaw to 136.
“In some ways, they compete, and in other ways, they complement each other,” Dean explained. “They build a gambling complex in southern Oklahoma that caters to North Texas’ captive audience.”
WinStar boasts over 8,600 electronic games and almost 400,000 square feet of the gaming floor. It’s also recognized for its entertainment program, despite the fact that live activities were delayed or canceled because of the coronavirus.
Consumer demand, as well as the potential to improve the guest experience, were important drivers for the development, according to Carter. Rates of occupancy in hotels and gaming demand had been steadily increasing prior to the coronavirus pandemic, and they are currently rising as rates of infection have slowed, and vaccination rates have risen. Carter stated, “We are pleased to see the property meet the demand.”
The pandemic, according to Casey Clark, Senior Vice President of Communications for the American Gaming Association, put a major burden on casinos throughout the US in 2020. 989 casinos closed in a matter of weeks. Gaming income was $34.6 billion in 2019, according to the National Indian Gaming Commission, while similar statistics for 2020 have yet to be released.
“Value reduced year-by-year game revenue by almost 30%,” Clark added. “It has a significant impact on over two million jobs and the small companies that they support across the country.” The state of Oklahoma charges Choctaw and other tribes fees depending on casino earnings. Fees plummeted 16.6% to $123.6 million in fiscal 2020, the first time they’ve dropped since 2014. $23 million came from the Choctaw tribe.
Oklahoma’s Choctaw tribe, which has a population of almost 200,000, had a $1.9 billion budget last year. Profits from the company’s operations fund health services, educational initiatives, and career opportunities.