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Casino is the spot for some Kansans on Thanksgiving

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, at 6:31 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, at 7 a.m.

— Wesley Myers was carrying on a Thanksgiving tradition by himself on Thursday at the Kansas Star Casino.

The tradition was for the 25-year-old Andover resident and his father, Russell Myers, to go gambling at casinos in either Topeka or Oklahoma.

“For three years straight we went on Thanksgiving day,” Myers said Thursday, sitting at the blackjack table. “My dad loved to gamble.” Myers’ dad died earlier this year.

Myers was one of several patrons at the casino who had a reason because of Thanksgiving to be there. It wasn’t just to gamble, they said.

Take the Christiansens from Fowler. Dean and Sally Christiansen were planning to celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend with their children who live in Park City and Newton. Because their children were spending Thursday with their spouses’ families, the Christiansens decided to spend the afternoon at the casino.

“It gives us something to do,” Dean Christiansen said. “It’s entertainment. That’s the way you’ve got to look at it. It’s not because we’re here to win money.”

He acknowledged it could become a tradition for him and his wife, to which Sally clarified, “a tradition of limits.”

Ragina Neilson of Wichita was at the casino for the first time. Neilson said she was here with her “future father-in-law,” who two months ago lost his wife.

“We decided to bring him to the casino,” she said. “We figured it was a great distraction for him. And he’s enjoyed himself.”

Megan Strader, Kansas Star’s spokeswoman, said the casino staff knows that some people come to the Kansas Star on the holidays because they may not have family and friends to be with.

“We’re so focused on hospitality here … they know they are going to be with friendly people,” Strader said. “They are our family and we are going to make them feel that way.”

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com.

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