What was once merely a truck stop, known for cheaper tobacco and gasoline, along Highway 75 south of Durant, Oklahoma, has with steady success become the impressive Choctaw Casino and Resort.
The Choctaw Casino draws people from all over Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and other states, providing a local, alternative gambling spot to those more well-known destinations in Louisiana.
There are chartered-buses called motor coaches that complete daily round trips from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to the Choctaw Casino and Resort. The popularity of the motor coaches going to the casino has led to the obvious need for an overnight hotel. Now, not only a casino, the complex is called the Choctaw Casino and Resort.
However one gets there, people may travel south of Durant for a night of gambling or the whole weekend in their efforts to hit it big in the casino, which is endowed with the diversity of larger casinos. There are slot machines, bingo games, off-track gambling, as well as an array of scheduled entertainment options.
The Choctaw Casino keeps late hours for those who find it difficult to pry themselves away from the slot machines. There are gambling areas in the Casino and the Coliseum, which is used for bull riding and other livestock events as well as a live music venue.
Recently, the Choctaw Coliseum hosted Merle Haggard, a veteran of the country music scene, and officials from the Choctaw Casino and Resort stated that it was the first concert that they handled independently from all angles, a process they hope to do more.
One spokesperson said that the Choctaw Nation was honored to have Merle Haggard play in the Coliseum because he only plays a handful of shows per year. Country music veteran songwriter Johnny Rodriguez opened for Haggard in the Coliseum. During the show, Haggard gave the crowd one of their predictable favorites when he sang “Okie From Muskogee”.
At one point, Haggard joked with the audience about getting used to his new set of dentures then talked about the changes he has seen in playing music for people over the last forty years. Haggard stated that he used to play beer-joints and dance halls, yet neither of them is as popular as they once were, so-to the delight of the crowd-he and his band now face the challenge of playing for sober people.
On the big screen televisions situated at both ends of the Coliseum, there were advertisements for another country music legend, George Jones, who is scheduled to play the Coliseum on December 1, 2005. Country music singer Reba McIntyre, a native to the state of Oklahoma, has also played in the Choctaw Coliseum.
Between the sets of musical acts, there are small gambling-rooms downstairs and concession areas to appease one’s hunger and thirst, making it a comfortable venue for young and old. There is a security-staff for the sake of all in attendance in the case of concerts at least.
In addition to hosting live music, the Coliseum also hosts other popular entertainment shows, both wrestling events and boxing matches. The abundance of parking space outside allows for popular events such as classic car shows as well as the convenience of those who drive themselves to the Choctaw Casino and Resort. There are shuttle-buses for those who are no longer as swift afoot as they once were.
Even though the sovereign nation of the Choctaws has produced the Choctaw Casino and Resort, they are open to serve all people in the community. It does not take a genius to notice that Native Americans, Latinos, African-Americans, and Caucasians like to gamble and to have a good time.
For those who have never gambled, it may be a wise choice to charter a trip to Choctaw Casino and Resort before flying to Las Vegas or Atlantic City, both of which could be overwhelming and hard on the pocketbook for some less experienced at the trade.
Especially for people from Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, it is best to try one’s luck at a relatively smaller location (at least for now) like Choctaw Casino and Resort before trying to hit the big time-whether because of finances or the simple convenience provided by the professional entrepreneurials of the Choctaw Nation.