A lot of people wouldn’t think that the state of Oklahoma would qualify as being considered a major gambling hub, but the state is home to many Indian run casinos, and some very big ones as well. There are four mega casinos here in excess of 200,000 square feet.
Two of these casinos, the WinStar, the world’s second largest casino, and the Chocktaw, are located close to the Texas border and primarily serve the Dallas Metroplex area. Both of Oklahoma’s major cities have a big casino located in them, with the River Spirit in Tulsa, and the Riverwind Casino serving the Oklahoma City area.
The Riverwind Casino is located in Norman, Oklahoma, a city of about 120,000 people, 20 miles from the city center of Oklahoma City. So the Riverwind has Oklahoma City’s metro population of 1.5 million to draw from, so they don’t even need a hotel to make this one of the biggest casinos in the state, although there is a 100 room hotel with 9 suites on hand to accommodate overnight guests.
There are several other casinos in the area, but none of the size to give the Riverwind any serious competition. This is by far the biggest casino in the Oklahoma City area and also is considered to be the best.
The Riverwind opened in 2006 and is owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation. The Chickasaw were one of the five tribes that were relocated to the Indian Territory in the 1830’s during what was known as the Trail of Tears.
The Chickasaw are the thirteenth largest Indian tribe in the country, and one of the most successful. They now own a total of 18 casinos in Oklahoma, with the Riverwind being the largest, and also own several other businesses in the state, and its economic impact is now estimated to be about $14 billion a year.
The Facilities at the Riverwind Casino
The Riverwind was such a success that in 2009, three years after it opened, the 100 room Riverwind Hotel was built alongside it, connected by a sky bridge, to accommodate tourists to the Norman area that also wished to experience their impressive casino and other facilities. Norman isn’t exactly a resort town so the people who come here definitely come to gamble, and there’s plenty of that at the Riverwind.
Rooms here start at $109 a night, which isn’t quite the deal you’d get in Las Vegas or Reno, but hotels located in big cities can’t subsidize the rooms as much as resort cities can, or they would just fill it with regular travelers who come to the city for reasons other than gambling. So these hotels need to be priced according to the overall market but the hotel here does deliver some very nice rooms for the money nonetheless.
The standard rooms come with a good selection of amenities, including premium mattresses, in room safe, iron and ironing board, high end toiletries, coffee maker, hair dryer, and high speed internet. Guests even get greeted with freshly baked cookies upon arrival.
They also have 9 suites, where you can choose from their two room Junior Suite or their three room Governor Suite, although these suites are booked solid for the next year at the time of this writing. From the bookings, it seems they should have built more suites but perhaps the hotel will be expanded down the road to better accommodate those wishing more generous accommodations.
The dining options here aren’t anywhere near as extensive as you would expect to see at a very large casino, but there are lots of nearby restaurants in Norman that guests here can select from, and most of the traffic here is local and are therefore well acquainted with all of the options in the area.
It’s not that the folks at the Riverwind don’t want their casino guests to enjoy dining with them though, and this all starts with The Willows Buffet, which is very popular here. The Willows is an American style buffet with a diversity of food options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Chips ‘N Ales is the place to get authentic English flavored dishes, featuring hand battered chicken and seafood along with hand cut chips. The Seasons Food Court has 4 different options, including a Burger King, a Panda Express serving fast food Asian, a Taco Bueno if you’re in the mood for Mexican food, and Rick’s Café which serves Italian food.
The 1,500 seat Showplace Theatre brings in the biggest name acts on the casino circuit, and the more intimate River Lounge also showcases live entertainment, with shows every Friday and Saturday night. There’s also the Riverwind Gift Shop to check out with a variety of brand name apparel and accessories to be had.
There is also 14,000 square feet of meeting space in the main building, plus another 2.000 square feet at the hotel, and they do get quite a few corporate events here which keeps the hotel bustling and also allows attendees to enjoy some great gambling during their business stays.
The Casino at Riverwind Casino
This is a casino of a very impressive size, boasting 216,000 square feet of gaming space, making it one of the largest casinos in not only Oklahoma but in the United States as well. Even the largest casinos in Las Vegas are not of this size.
Players here are eligible for membership in the Wild Card rewards program they feature, where you can redeem the rewards you earn based upon your play at one of the restaurants on site or at their gift shop.
The casino here features a total of 2,800 electronic gaming machines, and you can enjoy playing them all you want, any time you want, as this is a 24/7 casino. Stakes start at a penny and they have both slots and video poker machines to enjoy. All the hottest games are on hand and there’s also a High Limit area for those who want to play for the real big money.
While most of the action here is at their many slots, Riverwind also has 20 gaming tables for those who prefer the more classical form of casino gambling, featuring such popular games as Blackjack, Baccarat, Three Card Poker, card based Roulette, and Ultimate Texas Holdem.
Stakes run from $5 to $1000 a bet and the table games area is also available 24 hours a day, with the Energy Bar located just a few steps away so that you can easily grab your favorite cocktails while you are enjoying the action at the tables.
The Riverwind Casino Poker Room has 17 poker tables which offer action at both Texas Holdem and Omaha. In spite of the name, it isn’t casino poker that’s offered here, where you play against the house, this poker is the real deal against other players, and there’s lots of that going on here.
Bingo, Keno, and off track betting are also offered here, making this a truly comprehensive gambling experience catering to all tastes and preferences. The Riverwind is certainly the top pick for casinos in Oklahoma City and if you are going to be in the area and like to gamble, this is a place you want to check out.