A local casino received an unexpected surprise on Christmas night, when a dangerous threat was phoned in that evening.


A local casino received an unexpected surprise on Christmas night, when a dangerous threat was phoned in that evening.


At about 10:57 p.m., the Winstar casino received a call from an anonymous source claiming a bomb was in the casino area, a spokesperson for the casino said Friday.


The state’s largest casino was then evacuated by the Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department, and officers scoured the area with the help of a bomb detection K-9. Police officers and firefighers from Love County, Marietta and several other volunteer fire departments arrived on scene.


The entire 380,000-square-foot building was evacuated in about 15 minutes, including Paris, Beijing, Rome, Madrid and London, all recent theme additions, as well as the Center Ring, Palace and Mariachi, all casinos that have been around for some time, said Kim Koch, public relations director for the casino.


“Winstar takes this very seriously and they don’t take any chances, and they always evacuate the facility in concern for the patrons,” Koch said. “Any time an incident like this happens we get all of the patrons out of the building and take all of the precautions.”


While an official head count was not released, police officials said the casino was very busy.
“There was just a lot of people,” said Jason Edwards, special agent for the Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse police department.


And Edwards said this isn’t the first time his department has had to report to the casino for a bomb threat. 


“I have no idea what people have to gain from doing that,” he said. “I’ve never really seen a pattern.”


Although Lighthouse agents haven’t found a suspect, chances are pretty good they will, Edwards said.


“I don’t know how to put a percentage on it because there’s a lot of variables, but we do have what I would like to call a lot of substantial evidence, and I feel confident on getting it solved,” Edwards said. “We do take matters such as this as very seriously, and strive to maintain a safe and enjoyable atmosphere at our casinos.”


No one was injured as a result of the bomb threat or the evacuation. After hours of searching were complete and no explosives were found, the casino was reopened at about 2:30 a.m. Friday.


Keith Howard, 221-6542
keith.howard@ardmoreite.