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Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant Celebrates 35 Years of Gaming

July 26, 2022

DURANT, Okla., (July 26, 2022) – In honor of 35 years of exceeding guests’ expectations in the gaming and resort industry, Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant is thrilled to commemorate the landmark anniversary of the first casino in Southeastern Oklahoma with a month-long celebration. The festivities kick off on August 5. The celebration includes concerts, $2 million in cash giveaways, a special anniversary hotel rate, plus food, drink and spa specials, guest appearances at The League sports bar, and activities at The District entertainment venue like bowling and bingo, a nod to Choctaw Casino’s humble beginnings.

“I am proud to be one of the long-standing employees of Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant. It has been an honor to play a role in the growth of this property from a Bingo Hall into one of the largest casino resorts in the world. Guests from near and far have made Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant their entertainment destination of choice,” said Jeff Penz, Senior Director of Gaming Operations of Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant.



In 1987, the Choctaw Bingo Hall opened. It was a 28,000-square-foot facility that attracted players not only from Oklahoma, but across the Red River in Texas. In 2006, Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant opened, consisting of a 100,000-square-foot casino and hotel. Since then, the property has undergone five major expansion projects, including the addition of a 12-story hotel tower in 2010, major upgrades to the Choctaw Lodge and Choctaw Inn in 2012, and the opening of Grand Tower, Grand Theater and The District family entertainment center in 2012. The Sky Tower opened in 2021 featuring a 21-story luxury tower that included expanded gaming, elevated amenities, restaurants, lounges, entertainment options and world-class collection of Choctaw art.



For the last 35 years, Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant has provided thousands of associates with job opportunities. At least three of those associates have been with the casino since the original Choctaw Bingo Hall opened.

“Our associates are truly dedicated to enriching the lives of both tribal and non-tribal members. We are proud to have them on our team, ensuring we provide the same great service to our guests,” said Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton.

Janie DillardSenior Executive Officer

A modern-day trailblazer, Janie Dillard set her roots in the gaming industry starting out in 1987 as a floor manager and quickly promoted to director for Choctaw Nation’s first Bingo Palace in southeastern Oklahoma.

By 2001, she was Executive Director of Gaming, managing the Tribe’s gaming compact with the State of Oklahoma and opening four casinos, including the $300 million flagship Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant. Known for her confidence in steering the tribe’s gaming operations in a profession that is overwhelmingly male, Dillard’s endearing nature and skill with customers have helped her move up the Choctaw ranks, becoming Senior Executive Officer for the Choctaw Nation’s Division of Commerce in January 2018. In this role, Janie oversees an array of businesses including 21 gaming sites, three resorts and six hotels.

Diane PerrinResort Retail Director

Diane holds a BS from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and became employed at Choctaw in November of 1984. Diane currently leads the Retail Department and successfully operates 6 stores and vending. She is the driving force behind retail growth and financial performance. Former roles include directing Tribal Federal Programs, Executive Director Human Resources, Executive Director Economic Development, and Vice Chair of the Tribal Business Committee for 10-plus years. She is most proud to be a Choctaw Tribal member and Choctaw servant leader.

Reynella PowellCommerce Senior Accounting Manger

Reynella Powell started her career working for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma in 1987. Beginning as the receptionist at the Tribal Headquarters, then moving to Choctaw Indian High Stakes Bingo and holding various positions along the way. Her current role is Senior Accounting Manager for the Division of Commerce. 



 $2 Million in Cash Giveaways

This August, Choctaw Casino & Resort–Durant is celebrating 35 years of winning. The month-long festivities get started August 5 through the 7 with the opportunity for guests to win their share of $1 million. The following Saturdays, August 13, 20, and 27, Choctaw is giving 35 winners the opportunity to win their fair share of $1 million each day. 



Live Music and Comedy

Since opening in 2015, The Grand Theater at Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant has hosted more than 250 shows ranging from comedy shows to A-list tours like Aerosmith, Kid Rock, Chris Stapleton and Carrie Underwood. The property continues the tradition all August at The Grand Theater with:

Friday, August 5: Brooks & Dunn

Saturday, August 6: Hank Williams Jr.

Friday, August 19: #IMOMSOHARD (Comedy Show)

Saturday, August 20: Kane Brown

Friday, August 26: The Black Crowes

Tickets are currently on sale for all shows and can be purchased at, https://tinyurl.com/3ejhb5p2.

All shows will begin at 8 p.m. and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

As always, enjoy free live music at Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen + Bar at 9 p.m. and Gilley’s at 9:30 p.m. every weekend in August! For a full list of our free August entertainment visit, https://www.choctawcasinos.com/durant/.



Throughout the month of August, sip on a 35th Anniversary Bingo-Rita for $3.50, available at all casino bars (exception of pool and restaurants.) 



Celebrate another year of flawless beauty at The Spa at Choctaw Casino – Durant. Book a facial Monday-Thursday in August for 20% off a Luxe Age-Defying Facial and Renewal Massage.



For its 35th anniversary, Choctaw invites guests to book a weekday stay with offer code ‘Choctaw35’ to receive a special anniversary hotel rate.



The District is bringing bingo back. Throughout August everyone is invited to play bingo in The District to win prizes like a Hologate game, free No.1 concession Combo or Icee® at the movie theater, a free game of bowling or a $20 Time Play Card. Guests who earn a Blackout in bingo will win a grand prize of 35,000 redemption points. The District is also offering a Memory Lanes Bowling package for $35.



Anniversaries are for celebrating and what better way to do that than with a commemorative souvenir. Stop by Bordeaux in the Sky Tower and purchase a 35th Anniversary Celebration

T-Shirt for $10. Guests can also purchase an Anniversary Tumbler at 35% off.


About Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, Okla.

Located an hour north of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex lies a AAA Four Diamond resort and entertainment destination in southeastern Oklahoma. Choctaw Casino & Resort–Durant is a three-level convention/entertainment venue offering more than 100,000 square feet of meeting and convention space with seating for more than 3,000. Resort amenities include swimming, shopping, dining, a spa, and the region’s premier entertainment complex, The District, with dining, drinks, 20 bowling lanes, a 70-game arcade, and state-of-the-art movie theater. In August 2021, a major expansion added the Sky Tower: 21 stories high featuring 1,000 new luxury hotel rooms, 3,300 additional slot machines, table games, a new poker room, new restaurants, bars, movie theaters and three-acres of swimming pools. For more information, visit choctawcasinos.com.




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