Casino on the map

Published 10:42 am Monday, January 12, 2009

By By MaryClaire Foster
With an advertising campaign targeting almost all of Alabama and reaching as far as Columbus, Ga. and Tallahassee, Fla., the more than 10,000 patrons Wind Creek Casino and Hotel has attracted since its opening Tuesday are diverse in their geography but unified in their positive reviews.
Brent Pinkston, vice president of marketing and opening property manager for Wind Creek Casino and Hotel, said he is getting the same reaction from visitors.
Spotted in the parking lot were numerous license plates from surrounding states such as Georgia, Florida and Mississippi as well as Northern states and one from Canada. Pinkston said he assumes most of the Northern plates are “snowbirds” coming up from the coast.
Pinkston said things are running “as smooth as you could want” for the casino, which is owned and operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and that as far as the volume of people visiting the casino they are very pleased.
More than exceeding their anticipated amount of patrons, they are exceeding visitors’ own expectations of Wind Creek.
Casino visitor Jack McClaskie traveled the more than two-hour drive from Perdido Key, Fla. for the first time to this area to see the new casino.
Unlike McClaskie, Parnell said he was a frequent visitor to the CEC and said it is a whole lot better than the old facility, with more games and more room to move around.
George Polansky of Gulf Breeze, Fla., who also used to visit the CEC, had already won $1,400 on Wednesday and agreed the new facility is impressive.
Delia Mead and Carolyn Patrick carpooled to the CEC with their coworkers and continued to do so to Wind Creek this past week.
When asked if they felt they were missing anything with the facility only offering the electronic bingo machines, which is class two gaming, both Mead and Patrick agreed they were not.
Mead said Patrick was the one to inform her of a closer gaming facility and she was grateful for it.
Bolden, a truck driver that frequently travels to the area, agreed it was a nice facility, calling it “gorgeous” and “better” than the Mississippi casinos, but said it does lack one thing in comparison.
Bobby McGhee is a Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal member and said he often visited the CEC. He won $5,000 in free play the opening night of the casino.
McGhee also said he wants the casino to make the Tribe an independent community and thinks Wind Creek will allow this to happen.
Wind Creek offers 1,600 electronic gaming machines and is open 24 hours a day seven days a week.

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