After a year of construction, the newest part of the Choctaw Casino in Pocola is just days away from opening.
It’s got new slot machines, new games, and new restaurants.
Arlene Alleman, with Choctaw Casinos, said she’s thrilled to show off the new facility to customers at the grand opening on Saturday.
“I just can’t wait,” Alleman said. It’s just really a beautiful casino. I think that people will really be surprised at just how luxurious it is.”
More importantly, the new facility is also bringing more than 350 new jobs to the small community.
“We added about 80 staff on this first phase and we’re picking up almost another 300 employees between now and May when the hotel opens,” said Barrett DeFay, who also works with Choctaw Casinos.
“We’re just bringing in a lot of jobs,” Alleman said. “A lot of jobs. Not only jobs for our employees but our constructions team has also hired a lot of local subcontractors. So if we could hire local, we did.”
Oklahoma state reports show LeFlore County had the highest unemployment rate within the state last month at 9.9 percent.
The state average for unemployment was at 5.3 percent in October.
“The economy’s been tough all over,” DeFay said. “We’re just happy to be a boost to the local economy with the construction project and the additional jobs.”
Construction on the casino began in Nov. 2011. The first phase of the project is complete. The second phase, which includes a hotel, parking garage, a multipurpose room, additional restaurants and even more slot machines is expected to wrap up in May.
The entire project cost the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma $60 million.
To celebrate the completion of this part of the project, the casino will have a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday at noon. After that, you can try your luck at all of the new games.