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Gaming ideas for your group


Deadwood’s Main Street during the Wild West heyday and now as a tourist destination. Courtesy Deadwood CVB

Roll the dice, play the slots, or try your hand at poker: many bank groups love gaming destinations.

It’s not just about the dream of striking it rich. Groups enjoy gaming hot spots because they love to have fun, see the sights and be immersed in culture throughout those gaming communities.

Whether your casino destination of choice is a sprawling resort that offers a wealth of amenities and entertainment or a city that features an endless group travel itinerary, spending time where there are options for everyone is a sure bet.

The experts from these gaming destinations have chimed in and given us the scoop on what to plan the next time your group is hoping for a royal flush of a vacation inside the casino and beyond.

Deadwood, South Dakota
There are more than 80 gaming halls housed in 35 establishments in Deadwood.
“Most are on Main Street and throughout town, all accessible via a trolley system,” said Lee Harstad, marketing director for the Deadwood Chamber and Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The two resort-style casinos, the Deadwood Mountain Grand and the Lodge at Deadwood, are the newest gaming options in Deadwood, and both offer glitz and glamour.

“The Mountain Grand has a 3,000-seat entertainment center and the Lodge features an indoor water park,” said Harstad.

There is plenty of genuine action in this town that continues to preserve and creatively utilize its many late 1800s buildings.

“Groups are intrigued by our history,” Harstad added. “The Wild West was never more evident than right here in our back yard, and our bawdy past is visible in re-created street shootouts — and all can be arranged for groups. This is the one-time hangout for Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.”

Travelers can check out historical markers as they stroll downtown to visit the Adams Museum, which preserves the city’s wild Western history, and the Days of ’76 Museum, a showcase for the largest carriage and stagecoach collection in the United States.

Groups are also drawn to Jake’s, a downtown venue owned by actor Kevin Costner that features a gaming hall, a restaurant and a collection of costumes that Costner has worn in movies.

“And don’t miss the Days of ’76 Rodeo,” Harstad said. “This four-day event in July claims fame to one of the best rodeos in the country.”

Oklahoma is home to one of the largest casinos in the world: the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville.

“While groups like to explore surrounding areas when they are at a casino resort, they don’t need to venture off the property at the WinStar. This is a destination in itself,” said Todd Stallbaumer, consumer and trade marketing director for the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. “They have 1,100 rooms, a 27-hole golf course, 13 restaurants, a nightclub and a spa and sauna.”

Eight gaming plazas at the WinStar, each themed from exotic cities such as Madrid and Vienna, are adorned with fountains, crystal dragons and more. The hotel is modeled after an Italian villa.

“The Chickasaw Tribe own and operate this resort, and their cultural center is just 45 minutes away, along with Bedre, a chocolate manufacturer that makes chocolates for Neiman Marcus. Both are terrific options to get out and wander the area,” said Stallbaumer.

Six night clubs and the Joint, a concert venue, keep the marquees flashing at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, home to the renowned Tulsa Symphony, the Philbrook Museum of Art and the Tulsa Air and Space Museum.

“The Hard Rock is not only a casino but also a place to kick up your heels and have fun,” said Stallbaumer. “And this city offers everything on a group’s wish list itinerary.”