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Humble beginnings. Award winnings.

Since opening our doors in 2006, we’ve been named Best Casino in the State by the Oklahoman Reader’s Choice Awards and the Gazette’s Best of Awards eight times.

So as Oklahoma’s number one gaming destination, we humbly take a look back at our proud history.

In August, Riverwind Casino opened to the public, featuring two restaurants, a lounge, a food court, a 1,500-seat theatre and more than 219,000 square feet of gaming and event space. A great start, but with so many great expansions and milestones to come.

In December, Mel Gibson flew right to our state and walked right onto our stage, hosting a prescreening of his new movie “Apocolypto” at our impressive Showplace Theatre.

This was the first year we organized blood drives for the Oklahoma Blood Institute. Since then, our partnership has yielded more than 30 drives, resulting in more than 3,000 donations. And none of this life-saving push would be possible without you, our dedicated patrons.

In 2007, we also teamed up with three Heisman Trophy winners (and Norman football legends) to open Autographs Sports Bar with football greats Steve Owens, Billy Sims and Jason White.

We opened our Riverwind Hotel in February, with 100 beautiful, already-booked rooms, so guests could play and now stay. A short time later, the sky bridge linked the hotel and casino, giving our patrons easy access to both.

In September, our favorite Norman-based actor and musician, Christian Kane (known for his roles in “Just Married, “Taxi” and “Secondhand Lions”), took center stage at the Showplace Theatre for his first hometown concert.

In July, popular Normanite (and of course, one of our patrons!) Gabe Scott took home the title of winner of the “World Series of Poker.”

A short time later, our popular Chips ‘N Ales opened to hungry patrons. Chicken pot pie, anyone?

This was also the year Riverwind launched our annual charity golf tournament. Since the first strike off the first tee, we have raised critical funds for the Children’s Hospital Foundation, Cavett Kids Foundation, Bridges Norman, Mary Abbott Children’s House and the Norman Public School Foundation.

In May, The Toby Keith Foundation hosted the 10th annual “Denim and Diamond” dinner and auction at our own Showplace Theatre. In total, the event raised more than $1 million.

When tornadoes devastated communities in Oklahoma in the same month, including the Moore area, Riverwind Casino not only held a blood drive, but was a donation drop-off site for relief efforts. What’s more, we partnered with Sooner Bowling and Ebonite International to hold a “Bowl It Forward” tournament at Sooner Bowling, with proceeds benefiting tornado relief efforts.

Norman native and Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill returned home to play an unforgettable concert at our Showplace Theatre. Since then, Vince, we’re still “Tryin’ To Get Over You.”

In 2015, we were honored to be nominated for an Industry Award at the 50th Academy of Country Music Awards.

In July, we debuted Beats & Bites, a spectacular summer music and food truck festival, launched with host Craig Morgan. Amazingly, it drew more than 10,000 people on day one.

Those are all great highlights, but at this point we want to bring up another ongoing source of pride for Riverwind: our amazing and caring staff. In more than a decade, our employees have volunteered at numerous organizations throughout our community, including the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Meals on Wheels of Norman, Cleveland County March of Dimes, United Way of Norman and the American Heart Association. Certainly, they are the many who make Riverwind number one.

We introduced two new table games – craps and roulette – to enhance the gaming experience. We also renovated the River Buffet.

Riverwind partnered with COOP Ale Works to present the fourth annual Beats & Bites Festival and the COOP Concert Series. Plus, we introduced a new table game – Blackjack Match – on eight tables.