Ball-and-dice games open at Hard Rock Tulsa
CATOOSA – After getting the federal government’s approval on Aug. 17, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa was the first casino in the state to offer ball-and-dice games on Aug. 20.
Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin threw the first dice onto the craps table, which officially opened the games for play. Players then gathered around the table to being playing after it was opened.
“It’s an exciting day because this adds a new element of excitement to the top-of-the-market Hard Rock Casino, but more important than that it means more revenue potential for the Cherokee Nation. Of course, we plow 100 percent of all the revenues we get from our businesses into our people, into our communities, so this is just another opportunity for us to raise that standard of living by investing in these communities through the revenues we get here at the casino,” Hoskin said.
He said ball-and-dice games were opened first at the Hard Rock because it’s the flagship casino, but they will be available at other Cherokee Casinos.
Craps is a table game in which players make wagers on the outcome of a dice roll. A shooter is given dice, and the stickman verifies the dice and then announces the results. All players bet on the same roll regardless of who is shooting.
In roulette, players bet on red or black or odd or even numbers before a ball is dropped on the outer edge of a spinning wheel with numbers on alternate red and black pockets. The ball eventually falls onto the wheel and into one of 38 colored and numbered pockets.
Both games may have a learning curve for some area gamblers, and Hard Rock officials said they do not want anyone’s lack of knowledge of the games to stop them from playing, so special classes and events will be offered to help people learn. Also, gaming staff at the tables will encourage anyone to learn the games and bet, officials said.
Mickey Ward, corporate gaming operations senior director, said the casino has offered similar ball-and-dice games for the past seven or eight years, but those were based on cards, not ball or dice.
“With the (gaming) compact supplement that was recently approved, we are now able to offer these games with more traditional components,” Ward said.
He said the casino previously had about 25 craps and roulette dealers. After Gov. Mary Fallin signed the gaming compact supplement, the casino brought in 50 more dealers to train on the new games. Those dealers put in up to 250 hours of training to prepare for the games.
“Here at the Hard Rock property we’re going to have three craps tables and four roulette tables. CNE (Cherokee Nation Entertainment)-wide, we’re to have six craps tables and eight roulette tables,” Ward said.
Tribes were able to provide the games after Fallin signed House Bill 3375 into law on April 10 as a revenue-raising measure.
Ball-and-dice gaming is supported by the Oklahoma Education Association to increase school funding. Education officials estimate the games will raise $20 million to $49 million annually.
Up to 10 other tribes have already entered into similar agreements with the state to begin offering ball-and-dice games, which should put Oklahoma casinos on par with out-of-state casinos that offer the games.