Thousands of patrons streamed through the doors of the new Wind Creek Wetumpka, an Alabama-based luxury casino and hotel, within hours of its opening last week. The record crowds began queuing up early in the morning, and a steady stream of motorists filled the lanes of Interstate 231 leading to the development's entrance.
"We could not be happier," said Cody Williamson, property manager for Wind Creek Wetumpka in a prepared statement. "There has been so much hard work, especially in the last few days, getting Wind Creek Wetumpka, perfect for the opening. It's really nice to see that people have come and are having a good time."
Wind Creek Wetumpka is one of three casinos owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians; Alabama's only federally recognized tribe. The properties are managed by PCI Gaming Authority.
Buford L. Rolin, Poarch's Tribal Chairman, oversaw the facility’s ribbon cutting ceremony, which was greeted by sunny skies, crowds of excited customers and a host of high-profile well-wishers and members of the media.
"What a great day this is," Rolin said. "This a beautiful place that is built on one of the prettiest rivers in Alabama. But Wind Creek is also a place that provides good jobs. I know I speak for our entire Tribe when I say we are very proud of that and wish the best for everyone involved in making Wind Creek a wonderful place to come."
"Opening day is the culmination of years of planning and more than 18 months of construction,” said Jay Dorris, president of PCI Gaming Authority. “The Poarch Band of Creek Indians had a vision of what Wind Creek could be, and a lot of talented, committed people worked very hard to design and build a property that is truly special. I want to personally thank all them. And I want to thank our dedicated employees here as well. We hired a lot of new people and we appreciate their willingness to work hard and make Wind Creek a success from Day One."
Wind Creek Wetumpka is a 20-story, deluxe hotel and casino that features 283 rooms (each with a river view), 85,000 feet of gaming space, 2,520 electronic gaming machines, and a 16,000 gallon shark tank at the casino's bar. The property also boasts five restaurants.
Construction on the development began in May of 2012. Over 18 months, more than 800 workers contributed an estimated 1.4 million man-hours to the project. Payroll during this period exceeded $100 million.