Named Employer of the Year

Choctaw Casinos & Resorts triumphs with three wins at SBC Awards North America

Reading time 2:11 min

Choctaw Casinos & Resorts secured three industry awards at the 2024 SBC Awards North America in New York last week. These recognize outstanding achievements among gaming and online betting operators across the US and Canada.

Choctaw Casinos & Resorts was honored as Employer of the Year, and its flagship property in Durant earned the title of Tribal Gaming Operator of the Year. Janie Dillard, Senior Executive Officer Over Commerce for the Choctaw Nation, was named Tribal Gaming Leader of the Year.

Dillard, a driving force behind the expansion of Choctaw Nation gaming and commerce since 1987, was acknowledged for her innovative strategies in 2023. She launched the award-winning "Where the Players Play" campaign, featuring Dallas Cowboys legends Troy Aikman, Darren Woodson, and Emmitt Smith, along with Texas Rangers All-Star catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez. This campaign marked a first in the tribal gaming industry by incorporating star athletes into a casino brand.

Additionally, Dillard oversaw the planning and preparation for the grand opening of Choctaw Landing, the newest Choctaw Casinos & Resorts location in Hochatown. This 100-room destination emphasizes Choctaw culture and offers 600 slot machines, eight table games, a restaurant, mercantile, pool, and outdoor amphitheater. The construction of this multi-use property has created over 2,000 new jobs and is projected to have an economic impact exceeding $211 million. Choctaw Landing's soft opening occurred in April, with the grand opening set for May 23, 2024.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton said: “For Janie, innovation is the key to moving forward. She’s been that way since the beginning. Her curiosity and experience drive her to be the best in the industry. She is truly remarkable. As the gaming industry continues to grow, so does Janie. She is always one step ahead.”

Dillard is also dedicated to promoting women's advancement in the gaming industry, traditionally male-dominated. She serves as commissioner of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women and speaks at women's leadership conferences nationwide, including the 2023 Dallas Mavericks’ "Be That Diamond" Symposium.

The "Where the Players Play" campaign and the revamped Choctaw Rewards Club garnered significant attention, with the latter being the first comprehensive rewards program in the region, allowing guests to earn points on most non-gaming purchases.

The Durant property also launched the "3 Months 3 Millionaires" promotion. Further, the Durant location underwent extensive renovations, including the addition of the District Food Hall and the remodeling of all 329 rooms in the Grand Tower.

The Employer of the Year award highlighted Choctaw Casinos & Resorts' commitment to its associates. In 2023, Choctaw Nation completed the construction of 300 employee apartments in Durant and Broken Bow, ensuring affordable housing for casino associates. 

The company also partnered with Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology to offer a free food and beverage training program, which includes the opportunity to earn an associate degree. Additionally, the Employee Education Assistance Program (EEAP) provides up to $5,000 annually for associates pursuing higher education.

Heidi Grant, Senior Executive Officer of Commerce for Choctaw Nation, said: “It’s an honor to see Choctaw Casinos & Resorts recognized for its efforts to not only stay at the front of industry trends, but also to prioritize the well-being of its associates.

Choctaw Casinos & Resorts was also a finalist for Social Gaming Operator of the Year and Marketing Campaign & Sponsorship of the Year.

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