The Office of Student Union Activities and the Kappa Delta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Inc. teamed up Friday to host Florida A&M University’s first Casino Night. The goal of the event was to provide the student body with a new, exciting form of entertainment.
Lefran Lloyd, 23, a business administration student from Fort Lauderdale and the president of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Inc., said the OSUA attempted to have the event last year, but didn’t have much success.
This year they decided to invite the members of Alpha Phi Omega to assist them in hosting the event, which produced a huge turnout.
“After student activities negotiated the contract, Alpha Phi Omega came in and assisted with publicity and getting the word out to the campus,” Lloyd said.
In addition to publicizing for the event, Alpha Phi Omega contributed in other capacities. Members of the fraternity used their training as experienced poker dealers to help make the event a success. Lloyd said Alpha Phi Omega hosts its own casino nights and game tournaments, in addition to having its own weekly poker night.
A table was set up in the back of the Grand Ballroom during the event for anyone wanting impromptu lessons on how to play many of the casino games, including poker and black jack.
OSUA also hired a company named Everything but Mime to work during Casino Night.
“The company came and brought professional dealers. They brought professional tables, and that’s why we’re just backup dealers,” Lloyd said.
OSUA project manager Mary Ellis said she wasn’t shocked about the success of the event because she felt that the Casino Night offered many things that students like, such as the games and the chance to win prizes.
Lloyd added that Alpha Phi Omega donated a portion of the prizes, and other prizes were donated by Target. Additionally, students won FAMU memorabilia such as caps and lawn chairs. Casino Night was hosted in the Grand Ballroom, where students had the opportunity to play games for free.
Each participating student received a $5,000 voucher to play any games they chose. The voucher became pretend dollar bills, and whatever money the student won from the games was turned in to receive a prize.
“They’re not gambling, but they do get a chance to play, win, enjoy and leave with something,” Lloyd said.
Coordinator of Student Activities Felicia Barnes said the event has grown since last year. Barnes said she believes the changing of the name from “High Stakes” to “Casino Night” may have contributed to this year’s turnout.
“We pretty much knew it would be more people here because we did a lot more pubbing, and it’s just a bigger and better event because we called it Casino Night, so that just brought out a lot more people,” Barnes said.
The Grand Ballroom was dimmed with flickering lights, as the DJ played old school to new school music for the crowd. While some students ate catered sandwiches and cookies, others gathered around the craps tables with excited and intense faces, hoping not to make a wrong move in the game.
Dana Borden, 18, a first-year pharmacy candidate from Miami, said she did not mind losing her game of black jack because she was having such a good time.
“I love it. It just feels good,” Borden said. “It’s inviting. It’s enjoyable. It’s easygoing.”
Lloyd said, “Student Activities really went above and beyond to make sure this would be a great casino experience for all the students on campus who might not have ever experienced that before.”