Wind Creek Casino Unveils $250 Million Expansion

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By Brittany Bivins

In less than two months, Wetumpka will be home to the largest casino in Alabama, when the Poarch Band of Creek Indians unveils a $250 million dollar expansion to its Wind Creek Casino.

The new building is 80,000 square feet of space, which houses five restaurants, a new game floor and soon, a 20-story hotel.

Wind Creek Casino officials say the new addition makes Wetumpka a statewide attraction.

"We have a very big local following. We believe that that's going to change a little bit. Now that we have the hotel, we can actually try to get some business from Atlanta, Birmingham, Huntsville. It's been very difficult to get that business, just because you drive two or three hours, you get here, you play a couple hours, and then you have to drive back," said Cody Williamson, General Manager at Wind Creek Wetumpka.

Workers are still finishing the top floors of the 20-story hotel, which is set to open in mid-February. The game floor and five restaurants will be open in December.

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians won't pay property taxes on the casino itself, because it's on Indian trust land, but they say they'll benefit the community in other ways.

"All of the people that work here pay income taxes, and of course that money goes out into the community, and most, probably 70 percent of our employees will be from Elmore County," said Williamson.

More than 800 workers were on site at the height of construction.

"In these tough times, that's probably been overused, but we're just happy to have the job."

Casino officials say they'll need more than 1,000 people for permanent positions. That's 600 more employees than they already have.

"I'm excited about all the job offers they're going to have. It's going to help the community grow," said Rachel Cook, who says she is hoping to apply for work at the casino after it opens.

Wind Creek officials say they also have big plans for their older building, which is home to the current casino floor. They plan to turn that space into a convenience store and entertainment venue. They hope to finish that project by next summer.



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