Wheelin' and dealin'

Casino night looks to draw high schoolers

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Area high school students will have an opportunity to be high rollers Friday during Substance Free Casino Night.

The event was discussed at a December forum where teenagers voiced concerns about underage drinking and offered suggestions for deterring young people from drinking, including more activities for teens.

Grand Futures Prevention Coalition is sponsoring the event with support from the city and other volunteers.

Director Sandy Visnack said she hopes the casino night attracts a good crowd.

"At the teen forum we held, the kids said they'd like to see more consistent alternative things to do. So we charged them to tell us what they wanted," she said.

Visnack said the Steamboat Springs High School leadership class is responsible for decorating the Community Center for Friday's event. Students from all Routt County high schools are encouraged to attend, Visnack said.

A professional casino company will set up Texas Hold 'em, craps, blackjack and roulette tables. Students will pay $5 each at the door and will be given $500 in Las Vegas-style poker chips to gamble with.

At the end of the night, the students will be able to cash in their chips for raffle tickets for a prize drawing. Students will be given one raffle ticket for every $500 worth of chips they cash in.

Visnack said some of the prizes that will be awarded include a Camelback backpack, a month of free tanning, restaurant gift certificates and clothing items that were donated from area businesses.

"Casino night is one of the big ones. It's a real deal," she said.

Grand Futures Prevention Coalition is a local nonprofit that works to educate youths and their families about the dangers of substance abuse and to provide alternative programs for youths.

"We're trying to provide the kids with an alternative activity that holds them accountable for their Friday nights," she said.

Visnack said students are welcome to come to Casino Night anytime during the three hours it will operate but that once the student leaves, he or she will not be permitted to come back in for safety purposes.

Visnack said students are encouraged to dress up for the event.

"The (high school) student who actually started Casino Night last year wore a tux," Visnack said.

Two businesses that failed an alcohol compliance checks in December made donations to the event as a required part of their community restitution.

Go-Fer Foods -- which no longer sells alcohol -- and 7-Eleven donated $500 each to the night. Mountain Valley Bank donated $50.

What: Substance Free Casino Night

Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center

When: 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday

Cost: $5

Call: Sandy Visnack at 879-6188

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