Short version: all of the match play at the Sac & Fox Shawnee casino is going away as of Sunday October 14th.

October 22 update:
As of today’s date, neither Pixie nor I have received any mailed promotion from the Sac & Fox casinos. We’ve gambled there 2-4 times a week for the past four or five months, and yes, we did confirm our mailing addresses. So it would appear that “In October your free play will be mailed to you” was a simple lie, intended to make the promotions cancellation appear less dramatic than it was. Of course it’s very possible they are sending promotions to select heavy players, but for average gamblers not putting whole paychecks on the line, there don’t appear to be any mailed promotions whatsoever. If you’ve seen any mailers from them, please comment! We’d love to know what promotions you are getting, along with an idea about how much you’ve typically gambled there.

October 10 update: The employee at the promotions desk at the Sac & Fox Stroud casino confirmed for me today that the match play offers are “all going away” at the Stroud location as well; this is not unexpected since the two casinos are usually identical, promotions-wise. However this employee was “not sure if it’s going to happen this week.”

If you’ve been gambling regularly in Oklahoma casinos in the last six months or so, you’ll have noticed that match play promotions have been being radically pared back. A typical pattern six months ago was one or more $10 match play opportunities during the week and one or two weekend offers of $20 or $25. These have been vanishing everywhere, replaced with lame drawings, $5 match promotions, and what we not-so-lovingly call “half-assed match play” where you play $20 to get $10. Casinos we’d routinely take long drives to visit (Okema/Creek Nation/Eagle Bluff, are you listening?) went from generous promotions ($25 match two nights a week, $10 some other night, $10 each on mens/ladies day) to near nothing ($5 each on mens/ladies day, now reduced to a tiny four-hour window in the evening). And consequently, now we just wave at the sign as we drive by on the highway. We love to gamble, but most of these little casinos aren’t all that entertaining if the house won’t give back a little bit of advantage to get us in the door and give us a fighting chance to pay for our gasoline.

Just the other day I had observed to Pixie on one of our long drives that the last bastion of generous match play was the pair of Sac & Fox casinos in Shawnee and Stroud. For as long as we’ve been playing, they’ve offered genuine match play every day of the week, in amounts ranging from $10 to $20. On $20 days it’s enough to get us out on the highway and heading that way, and on $10 days it’s at least a guarantee that we’ll stop by if we’re passing through or near Shawnee. Stroud? Well, the Sac & Fox Stroud is a long way from anywhere we go, but on $20 match play days we’ll still head that way. No promotion? Not going there! Or not unless we’re going by on the turnpike, as happens maybe once in sixty days or so.

We were having that conversation while trying to puzzle out two things. First of all, around the beginning of the month we noticed that the Sac & Fox in Shawnee didn’t update its promotional posters; up through yesterday they were still flying the September posters in the huge marquee bulletin board by the main entrance. Why were they still talking about the September piggie bank promo instead of whatever October’s promos are supposed to be?

Second, and possibly unrelated: late last month the Sac & Fox Shawnee suddenly got stingy with the free beverages. Typically at these casinos, if you are still drinking your tiny cup of free coffee when you walk out the door, nobody seems to care. A few of the bigger casinos that serve drinks exercise “cup control” at the doors, but that’s understandable if they wish to prevent people walking out with open containers of booze. Otherwise, you walk out with your coffee and drive away drinking it. Until recently, that was the deal at the Sac & Fox, and why not? Nobody is going to burn a buck in gasoline to come and steal five ounces of bad machine coffee that costs maybe six or seven cents to serve.

And yet, there I was gambling at the Sac & Fox on September 28, when a bizarre announcement came over the loudspeakers: “ATTENTION Sac & Fox players, you are NO LONGER allowed to remove your beverage cups from the casino. Please drink or dispose of your beverages before leaving.” (That’s from memory, not verbatim; but that was the gist.)

And sure enough, they were bloody serious about it! Not only did signs go up on the doors, but they rejiggered their security kiosk from just inside the doors (and only sporadically manned) to a position between the double doors (and permanently manned with two beverage-control security officers).

Two weeks later, the full-time security on the door is still there, and people are still throwing coffee in the garbage as they leave. I’m sure that’s saving the casino so much money!

So anyway, Pixie and I were musing about that senseless change and the lack of new promotional posters, and we hit upon the notion that maybe they had a new manager. And I don’t know if that’s true, but yesterday when we stopped in, they were handing out these little cards at the promotional desk and telling everybody that the last day of regular match play will be Sunday the 14th:

“Our daily promotions are changing! In October your free play will be mailed to you and the amount you receive in the mail is based off the points you earn. So please be sure to use your Player’s Club card when gaming. THANK YOU.”

Or, as the nice player’s club employee summarized it more accurately: “No more match play. It’s all going to be mailed out coupons, now.”

Wow, bummer, dude.

I find the use of the phrase “free play” on the little hand-out card somewhat telling in this context. Excepting on my birthday, I’ve never received a dime of free play at the Sac & Fox; match play is not the same thing at all. But if they have a new manager who is offended by the monstrous revenue bleed that is people leaving with half-cups of the free beverages, maybe he/she is also horrified by “all the free money we are giving away” or some such foolishness.

In any case, it’s bad news for players. In my experience, Oklahoma casinos are not good at maintaining mailing addresses; they are constantly swiping your ID and will often replace your mailing address on file with the physical address on your ID. However, if you ask them to update the mailing address manually, they’ll smile and say it’s done, but it doesn’t reliably “take” in the database, or it gets wiped out the next time they swipe your card. What’s worse, even when they are successfully sending mailers, they aren’t consistent about promotions. I can’t tell you how many times Pixie and I will go to the same casinos on the same schedule, gambling similar amounts of money, only for one of us to receive a promotional mailer while the other gets nothing. It happens more often than it doesn’t happen, that’s for sure!

So, I don’t expect that the Sac & Fox will routinely send out coupon mailers. Obviously time will tell what the coupons consist of, but we aren’t big-money gamblers; we typically gamble no more than about two to five dollars for every promotional dollar during any given visit. It’s hard to imagine any “based off the points you earn” coupon regime that could deliver coupons to match the $95 in weekly match play that the Sac & Fox has been offering.

As I told the nice lady at the promotions desk, “That’s unfortunate! We’ll really miss seeing y’all as often as we have been.”


  1. i popped into the casino up in stroud oklahoma one day going to chandler and i asked if there was any promotions and they said when the new cold turkey play came that they had to start from there to give these match plays and i played a little but i looked around you couldnt win anything because there was only 5 other people there well i lost 10;00 and left but on leaving i said they had a private club now then i changed it to a ghost town i said good bye and left and i have not received anything and they said that the points would be mailed so there machines i dont think even when you got a match play you might get your money back so you could get back home there machines are tighter than a dime there are better casinos firelake in tecumseh is there and they still give you a nice match play there machines are tight but at least you get a chance to play for a while and yes you are right seminole nation does have a matchplay that is half back so i say thank you to firelake especially for not making us feel like you want people there

    • I have to agree i was disappionted in the loss of promotions at all the casinos. I have given Sac and Fox my address sevetal times and have yet to receive my match play from them..

  2. Pingback: Match Play Deathwatch Update: Sac & Fox Casinos | The Okie Gambler

  3. Pingback: Sac & Fox Casino Shawnee: Mailer Update | The Okie Gambler

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