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A New Place to Play

12 January 2004

THACKERVILLE, Oklahoma – As reported by the Star-Telegram: ``Sitting in front of his 'lucky' slot machine, Gainesville resident Barry Martin is a walking advertisement for the Chickasaw Tribe's WinStar Casino.

``In roughly four hours, he plucked $13,800 from the casino's electronic bingo machines and boasts of having similar results every time he enters the casino just north of the Red River.

``…With its grand opening in September, WinStar has brought casino like ambience an hour north of downtown Fort Worth, giving gamblers a place to play much closer than Shreveport and Bossier City.

``…The 110,000-square-foot WinStar, which is supposed to resemble a circus tent, has many of the amenities associated with Las Vegas and Shreveport.

``There's an all-you-can-eat buffet, a food court, a high-end steakhouse and a facility that hosts Vegas-style revues and country acts like Mark Chesnutt.

``Unlike Vegas and Shreveport, there are no table games such as blackjack or poker, no alcohol and no coins clinking from the slot machines. Instead, the casino operates a card-key system that allows players to collect their winnings as they leave.

``And, by the way, those slot machines aren't really slots.

``They're classified as Class II bingo machines. Though they look like slots, they are considered a form of electronic bingo in which each machine is hooked up to a centralized computer. Class II games are regulated by the National Indian Gaming Commission and tribal gaming commissions.

``But most gamblers don't seem to care.

```If you want to play the slots, they've got plenty right here," said Lendel Morrison of Pauls Valley, Okla…"

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