Black Bear Casino Resort makes move to its Convention Center
Twenty-four hours before Black Bear Casino was scheduled to open in its new temporary digs on Friday, Slot Manager Tracy Mullen's arms were sore. "It was a team effort," he said of he and his staff moving hundreds of game machines from the soon-t...
Twenty-four hours before Black Bear Casino was scheduled to open in its new temporary digs on Friday, Slot Manager Tracy Mullen's arms were sore.
"It was a team effort," he said of he and his staff moving hundreds of game machines from the soon-to-be demolished casino to the new Black Bear Convention and Entertainment Center next door.
"Each gaming machine weighs from 300-600 pounds," he said. "Everyone was awesome. I can't believe how much we have done."
Mullen also oversaw delivery of 441 new machines throughout the week. Many are penny games and many are multi-denomination, meaning a player can choose the value of each credit wagered from a list of options. For example, a player could choose to bet one dollar per game on a nickel slot machine.
The jingle and jangle of change as people win, however, is no more. All the gaming machines now use bar-coded paper tickets (known as "ticket in/ticket out" machines), instead of coins.
"Dealing with coins is stressful and time-consuming for employees," explained Mullen.
The new ticket system is working well so far, but Mullen encourages players to double check the machines before moving on to make sure all tickets have been taken.
"Watch your tickets the way you would your money," he said.
Last Thursday, employees buzzed around the convention center in anticipation of opening. Slot technicians hooked up the machines, programmers got them ready to play, and countless others toiled in the new deli and buffet areas.
In the old casino, die-hard players continued to feed the remaining machines, while employees bustled back and forth from old building to new.
The convention center will house the casino for about a year while a new casino is under construction. Mullen plans to have 800 more new gaming machines by that time, bringing the total to approximately 2,000.
"With the machines and other games, it's going to be one of the biggest in the Northland," he said of the new facility.
Demolition of the old building, built in 1993, will take place the week of July 23, according to Rocky Wilkinson, marketing director.
Friday at 1 p.m., the casino opened to customers who saw the bright slot machines lining hallways and filling the main convention center meeting space. A bar is set up in the convention center meeting space near the blackjack tables. People should be able to find everything they remember about the old casino including poker, bingo and pull-tabs, just in a new state-of-the-art setting.
For more information, visit www.blackbearcasinoresort.com .