Did you know that the largest casino in the entire world is only a 5 hour drive from Amarillo? I have always heard about a WinStar casino location in Thackerville, Oklahoma, but until today, knew nothing about just how impressive of a place it is. In fact, the WinStar World Casino is nothing like what you would expect to find on the drive between Oklahoma City and Dallas.

The casino is located in the town of Thackerville, population of just around 500 people. The town sits right along interstate 35 and for the most part is a very poverty stricken part of Oklahoma. However, what sets Thackerville apart from the rest of small town America is the casino. The WinStar World Casino is owned and operated by the Chickasaw National. It opened in 2004, and has made expansions in 2009 and 2013. The casino floor measures an incredible 370,000 square feet, and the property has around 1,400 hotel rooms. The facility has 8,500 electronic games, a 55-table poker room, 100 total game tables, Racer's off-track betting, a high limit room, keno, and bingo. The WinStar also boasts a 3,500 seat theater which many of your favorite artists have stopped and performed in.

For me, what really sets this place apart from the rest if the architecture. Remember, this is sitting in a small Oklahoma town. The long facade exterior of WinStar World Casino features replicas of London's Parliament Building, Rome's Coliseum and the Arc de Triomphe from Paris. The exterior of the building was detailed by Lyndon Stromberg, who also worked on The Venetian and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as well as the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas and Planet Hollywood in New York City. The WinStar was conceived by noted designer Larry E. Seitz, whose work includes Sands Casinos, Trump Taj Mahal, Grand Casinos in Mississippi, Barona Casino, Buffalo Run, and the Paradise Island Casino among others.

Along with unique architecture and gaming, there are plenty of restaurants and bars inside, plus meeting rooms for large gatherings, and even a full convention center. If golfing is your sport, there are two 18-hole golf courses designed by former PGA Tour Pro, D.A. Weibring which holds golf tournaments each year. In addition, the WinStar Golf Academy, a 4,850-square-foot facility, offers private golf lessons.