Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Alabama's New Casino Opens Nearby

Wind Creek Casino and Hotel, Atmore, Alabama
Alabama's Newest Casino

It's also Alabama's first casino resort..

The beautiful Wind Creek Casino and its four restaurants opened last week. The hotel opens next week. The main floor with the casino and restaurants is nicely designed with a feeling of open space. The photos on the web site show some beautiful hotel rooms, too.

But the Wind Creek is the only game in town. And to say it's in the middle of nowhere makes it seem more urban than it really is. The hotel tower looms above the flat cotton fields of Atmore, Alabama. It is right off Interstate 65 and you can't miss it -- the tallest building between Mobile and Montgomery.

Driving distances from both Mobile and Pensacola are about 50 to 55 miles. From Mobile it's an easy, fast Interstate Highway drive all the way. From Pensacola much of the drive is on country roads and when the sign says 35 MPH you better slow down.

The slots look like Vegas-style machines but they are really bingo machines. Through the magic of the computer they can mock the look and feel of real video slots but payoffs are determined by a casino-wide bingo game for each pull. There are no table games or video poker. And it's a good bet that there are more people in the Alabama state legislature who want the place shut down than will vote to let them have a fully functioning Las Vegas- or Biloxi-style casino.

The food is quite good. The buffet's well-stocked and cheap. Right now, Monday through Thursday, if you buy one buffet meal you get one free. At lunch time that means for $7.95 plus tax -- about $8.60 total -- two people get all-you-can-eat meals. Lunch plus a tip for the disappearing waitress means the two of you are out of there for $10 and some change. Two dollars more if you valet park.

Will the lure of real slot machines, video poker and table games tempt people to travel the extra distance to Biloxi? Compared to the drive to Atmore, Biloxi is just an extra hour of driving from Pensacola and only about 15 minutes more than Atmore from Mobile. That's not a lot of additional drive time for a lot more variety in gaming, dining, lodging and entertainment.

1 comment:

Mac said...

It's 57 miles -- about an hour -- from Atmore to Mobile, plus another 63 miles from Mobile to Biloxi. So gambling in Atmore saves a 2-hour drive, plus the 2 hours back.