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Casino Openings & Expansions: Choctaw Casino Resort targets wide demographic with new luxury amenities

16 October 2015

The strategy for casino marketing professionals has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. It no longer emphasizes simply trying to attract gamblers to gamble, but is more about providing unique nongaming amenities that provide an all-encompassing guest experience.

For proof, look no further than the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma, less than two hours from Dallas. In the past five weeks, the resort has unveiled an entertainment venue complete with laser tag, bowling, a sports bar, a movie theater and a luxurious spa that offers numerous treatments geared toward men.

Also part of this two-phase expansion project was the June opening of The Spa Tower; a multi-purpose, three-level convention center with over 100,000 square feet of meeting space; and the Oasis Pool area, with four tropical pools and private cabanas. The 286 new guest rooms in the 14-story tower brings the total number of rooms at the resort to 786.

"We're not in a large city, so in order to draw people from surrounding areas and especially the Dallas-Fort Worth region, we need to offer the complete package," Choctaw Casinos Marketing Director Wendy Carter tells Casino City. "Now, we can do that. We have something for everyone, and that includes younger folks, senior citizens and families."

The District – the new entertainment venue that opened on Sept. 11 – features a two-story, 3,350-square-foot laser tag arena, a 41-game arcade and a movie theater complete with four main screens and 633 seats. The bowling facility houses 200 balls and 300 pairs of shoes and is further enticing a younger demographic with "cyber bowling nights" on Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The District -- a new entertainment venue at Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma -- features a bowling alley, movie theater, sports bar and laser tag arena.

The District -- a new entertainment venue at Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma -- features a bowling alley, movie theater, sports bar and laser tag arena.

The 23,000-square-foot, full-service, signature spa opened Oct. 1. "The Spa" has a comprehensive menu offering a wide array of massage, facial and body treatment services. The space boasts nine treatment rooms, including two couples' suites, each with an Ultra-whirlpool soaking tub and Rain Shower for two. There is a co-ed Relaxation Lounge and Reflection Waters/Waterfall Mineral Bath, and guests can also use the steam room and whirlpool tub located in both the men's and women's locker areas.

The salon features hair, nail and makeup services, while a traditional barbershop is providing a modern take on a classic service with its "Gentleman's Hot Towel Facial."

"Studies show that more and more men are visiting spas and we kept that in mind when designing 'The Spa' and creating the treatment menu," Carter says.

Spa Director Mark Amoriello added that he is committed to delivering treatments "expected by spa enthusiasts as well as guests who are spoiling for the first time."

"We gave consideration to elements from the best spas across the country during our design and planning process," says Amoriello, who has almost two decades of experience in luxury spas in the U.S. and internationally.

Owned and operated by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the resort's gaming offerings include 3,500 slots, table games and a racebook with 70 TVs, including a 48-foot HD screen. But with the new additions, there is more reason than ever to visit the resort, even if you aren't going to slip a single dollar into a machine.

"This is what the vision was ever since the resort opened (in 2006)," Carter says. "They knew there was going to be a need for more rooms and more than just gaming. Now, we feel as though we are a one-stop destination and the reaction from our guests so far has been very positive."

* * *


Viejas Casino & Resort in San Diego opened a newly expanded gaming section, highlighted by the addition of 1,000 slot machines.

The 15,000-square-foot expansion includes a new state-of-the-art promotion stage and open access to an ultramodern escalator bank that leads to a new hotel tower, opening later this month.

"This marks the first step in our most ambitious plan of growth to date," said Viejas Tribal Chairman Robert Welch. "The ongoing development of Viejas continues to resonate in many positive ways for the San Diego area, both economically and in establishing a strong foundation for the future of our culture."

The second hotel tower opens Oct. 30 and will offer an additional 109 deluxe rooms and VIP suites. It will also feature nine state-of-the-art meeting spaces and the Oak Ballroom, ideal for weddings and other special group events.

Since the opening of its first hotel tower in 2013, Viejas Casino & Resort has been awarded AAA Four Diamond status consistently every year.

* * *


The Rock Bar and Lounge opened at Greektown Casino in Detroit in late September. The modernized bar replaces Asteria, which originally opened in 2011, and serves up signature cocktails named after local Detroit streets.

The new entertainment amenity features contemporary décor, seven 75-inch flat-screen TVs and 26 video poker machines.

Located on the lower level of the casino, Rock Bar and Lounge is part of Greektown Casino-Hotel’s $60 million property renovation, which began last year. The enhancements include modernizing the casino's interior, offering a new dining experience at PRISM restaurant with an expanded menu, adding 400 new slot machines, launching a new players' club program called "GT Rewards" and installing a state-of-the-art HVAC system for improved air quality.

* * *


The Seneca Nation of Indians announced plans for a two-story expansion at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino last month, adding more than 28,000 square feet of space, 360 slot machines and 10 table games.

The $40 million expansion will also bring a high-limit room and nonsmoking area to the casino, as well as a performance stage for live entertainment at Stixx Sports Bar, retail space and a refreshed Buffalo Savors Grill.

A Western Door Steakhouse – known as the signature restaurant at Seneca Gaming’s two resort properties in Niagara Falls and Salamanca – will include indoor and outdoor seating and banquet and meeting space.

"Eight years ago, the Seneca Nation invested in our Buffalo Creek Territory when little else was taking place around us to draw people to the Inner Harbor area of downtown Buffalo," said Seneca Nation President Maurice A. John Sr., referring to the opening of the original Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in 2007. "An unprecedented wave of development, momentum, investment and growth followed. Today, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino is at the epicenter for excitement in Buffalo."

Construction is expected to start this fall and be completed in early 2017. The project will dramatically increase Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino's workforce, bringing an estimated 300 new jobs to downtown Buffalo.

The expansion announcement comes nearly two years to the day after the Seneca Nation and Seneca Gaming Corporation opened the $130 million permanent casino property. Once completed, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino will offer 1,200 slot machines and 32 table games.
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Best of Gary Trask
Gary Trask

Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT
Gary Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT