By Zack Cutler
December 17th marks the second birthday of our Casino and Hotel in Wetumpka, but we have been down an interesting road to get where we are today. So, in honor of our birthday, we thought we’d share a little bit of this journey with you. After all, without you and the citizens of our fair town, there would be no Wind Creek Wetumpka! And while this may be viewed as a “then” to “now” type of story, it’s also important to remember that Wetumpka’s “now” remains in transition, because we’re always making improvements so our Guests can have the best possible experience! But to understand how our “now” came to be in Wetumpka, it’s important to understand our humble beginnings.
It all started in 1985 when we opened our very first Bingo Parlor in Atmore - the Creek Bingo Palace. We started out playing bingo on paper pull-tab cards! It may have been a rudimentary way of playing, but those pull-tabs paved the way for our very first electronic bingo games in 1991.If you can believe it, we started out with only three gaming machines! But, those machines were the future, and they proved popular enough for us to expand to Wetumpka, with the opening of the Riverside Entertainment Center, in a modular building located where our new Entertainment Center is now. The Where it all started 7 initial building housed around 400 games, then was expanded in 2002. Also in 2002, we opened our Tallapoosa gaming center, which was soon to become Creek Casino Montgomery. Then, in November 2003, we expanded our operations to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Because you asked for it!
By this time, the Atmore Bingo Palace had expanded several times, from 353 to 1,200 games. Wetumpka also grew in popularity, so we more than doubled the Riverside Entertainment Center, making room for another 900 games. It soon became clear that in order to serve the needs of our expanding Guest list, we needed to expand our operations even further. We began that expansion in Atmore with the construction of our first Hotel and fully modern Casino, which opened in 2009. The now 1,700-gamestrong Atmore location was an immediate success, and proved there was real demand for luxury casinos here in Alabama. Then, in July of 2012 we announced plans for Wind Creek Wetumpka, which would include a 20-story hotel, an outdoor pool, an upscale restaurant, entertainment center, and an 85,000 square foot gaming floor featuring over 2,500 games. At last, on December 17, 2013, we cut the ribbon in Wetumpka - and now we’re celebrating our second birthday!
Just as our story in Wetumpka can’t be told without mentioning the other two Casinos, it also can’t be told without including the community of Wetumpka. As we have grown, the community has grown with us. This isn’t just our second birthday, this is a celebration of two years of bringing growth and prosperity to the community. The entire area has felt increased business and employment, and from the very beginning, this has all been part of our plan. In fact, at the unveiling of the Wetumpka concept back in 2012, Tribal Chair Buford Rolin said, “This will be a really nice resort, but what pleases me most is that it will offer new jobs.”
Property Manager Cody Williamson feels the same way. “I’ve been part of the redevelopment plans for Wetumpka, and there has been a lot of talk about needing a catalyst project. We wanted this to be a catalyst to bring life to all the dreams people have been discussing for this city. We’re so very happy to have been able to accomplish that, and we expect to remain a catalyst here for a long, long time.”
It isn’t just the jobs, however, or the catalyst to spark economic development that makes us feel proud. All of this is because of you - our Guests. Yes, Wind Creek Wetumpka has been standing for two years, but it’s just a building - our two year birthday is a celebration of you!
So here’s the happy ending to this story. When you visit us in Wetumpka, or any of our properties, you allow us to keep supporting our communities. You can feel good about coming here and playing. Wetumpka today is the best it’s ever been. We’ve come a long way from the Riverside building along the Coosa, and it’s just going to keep getting better! On our second birthday, we wanted to say Thank You!