So Pixie and I got into the I-40 Seminole casino today to see the new facility. “The Future Is Here!” says the outside casino signboard — so what does it look like?

First impressions were fairly poor. Construction is not complete, and workmen are still sawing and hammering in the area that appears to be intended for food vending, with no barriers or walls of any kind between the construction zone and the casino floor. Much is unfinished (including 2×4 lumber for handrails on the spiffy new entrance portal stairs) and chaos reins. In typical Seminole-casino fashion, the transition appears to have been mostly unplanned, with no thought given to managing transition issues that should have been obvious.

For instance: in a very positive change, the casino is moving from the ancient LCD displays by the card reader slots on the machines, to modern video screens with the same slot club interface as that in use at the Fire Lake Casinos and at the Holdenville Creek Nation casino. They are also (like Holdenville) allowing immediate redemption of promotions right at the machine as soon as the little blue stack-of-coins icon lights up — no more long waits in line at the players club desk for your promotional voucher. The bad news? Your “Lucky Player’s Club” card that formerly worked at all three Seminole casinos in Oklahoma no longer works at this facility; everybody had to stand in an (understaffed, terribly slow) line to get a new card. You’ll now need two cards, that will look identical except for different color lettering and a different player number, if you want to gamble at all three casinos. Worse yet, they had NO SIGNAGE WHATSOEVER about this change. We had to learn it the hard way (when our cards would not read in the new machines) and then ask a floor employee before learning that we needed to stand in that huge non-moving line before we could gamble. Eventually they started making announcements, but their PA system is badly designed (or the acoustics are poor) because the announcements were very difficult to hear and understand.

On the brighter side, the new casino floor is large and bright with high ceilings and good spacing between the machines. There are many new machines, including a few modern additions like the four different “Collosal Reels” games and a lot of new IGT multigame machines. A few old favorites are gone (my beloved Penny Poker and Press-It-Up Poker machines did not make it onto the new floor) and there is no video poker whatsoever, but there’s plenty of new and interesting machines to play.

I was told that the old floor is currently completely closed, but that it will eventually be renovated and reopened. Perhaps some of my older favorites will reappear then, if (I’m not sure about this) they can be retrofitted with the new-style players card screens and interfaces. I also noticed that the non-functional ticket-cashing machine that’s been sitting dark for months in the old casino did not get moved onto the new floor yet and so there’s still no ticket-cashing machine in this casino.

We are very pleased to no longer have to stand in line to claim promotional play; that was an antiquated annoyance that needs to vanish from all of Oklahoma’s casinos. We noticed that our points on the old card were converted (without us being told or asked) into promotional play on the new card; we also got $5.00 each as “new players club members” according to the on-screen announcement (again we were not told this at the player’s club desk).

There were no new promotions, “Grand Opening” signs, balloons, or free hot dogs; indeed, there seems to have been no effort whatsoever to generate excitement about the new facility or promote it in any way. Just another example of the baffling lack of marketing that is the singular characteristic of casinos in Oklahoma!

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