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|Ringing in the New Year requires big plans, so we headed north on I-35 across the Red River into Thackerville, Okla., for a visit to theWinStar World Casinos. It was a long walk to the concert venue through the world’s fifth largest casino. (Our feet can attest.) WinStar GM Wayne McCormick (pictured) tells us an enormousexpansion project debuted on New Year’s Eve 2008 when the casinodoubled to 380k SF of gaming floor and tripled the number ofmachines to almost 6,000. In the two years since, the casino has been adding new features based on customer demand. In the works: A new four-story 1,400-space parking garage, with an early 2012 finish date. (Or 700 spaces if everyone doubles down.)|
|The exterior of the building is designed by Lyndon Stromberg, known for his work at the Venetian and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. Among the features are replicas of London’s Parliament Building, Rome’s Coliseum, and the Arc d' Triumph in Paris. Inside, great cities from around the world are highlighted with gaming plazas. Most recently, NYC was added with a Statue of Liberty and a subway car. The three-star, 395-room WinStar World Hotel opened in summer '09 along with three new restaurants. “With the addition of the hotel, spa and golf course, we have created a true destination casino drawing hundreds of thousands of patrons from across the country,” Wayne says. And it's an hour drive from DFW.|
|It could be 3 am, but you’d never be lonely during a long day in thereal world (we were a little unwell trying to find any more ways to work in Matchbox Twenty lyrics). We were inspired by the band’s sold-out New Year’s Day show in the casino concert hall, where we surreptitiously snapped this before following the crowds packing intoToby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill restaurant, which opened in 2010. We did manage to keep all our cash in our pockets (fighting the urge to add more lyrics) and avoid the ATM machines, despite the newly increased table game limits from $1k to $3k. We'll take Wayne's word about the limits. We were strictly there on business.|