What Happens in Krannert, Stays in Krannert: A History of Casino Night

Sam Askew, Campus Carrier managing editor

Katelynn Singleton, Campus Carrier editor-in-chief

Posters advertising KCABs Casino Night for 2020. Casino Night became a more regular event in 2002.

Casino Night is a staple of Berry culture. Like the Semi-Formal and the Formal events, Berry students take the opportunity to dress up in their finest clothes and play the night away with casino games. The Krannert Center Activities Board (KCAB) is the organization responsible for Casino Night, along with many other popular Berry student events. However, many Berry students are unaware of Casino Night’s origins at Berry. It has a vibrant history that led to it becoming one of Berry’s most popular events. 

Students may be surprised to learn that KCAB formed in 1971, and the first Casino Night took place in Nov. 1978. According to Cecily Crow, former faculty supervisor of KCAB, the board evolved under Rufus Massey, alumnus (75C), who started many of the traditions we see today as the creator of KCAB.

During the 90s, when Crow was a student at Berry, Casino Night was somewhat casual. The prizes were won through poker chip auctions. Students would win poker chips throughout the night, and at the end would bid on prizes and such.

In the early 2000s, the Krannert Center was not available due to part of the building sinking into the ground, and so Casino Night was temporarily stopped.

However, it resumed in 2002 and moved to the Krannert lobby whereas it used to take place in all of the space in Krannert. In the late 2000s, according to Crow, the faux wedding chapel was added and quickly became a student favorite.

In the 2010s, big changes came to Casino Night, Crow said. A company was brought in to supply all of the games and materials, the event was moved into the Krannert ballroom, and it became an event that students dressed up for in the same way they did for Semi-Formal and Spring Formal. 

Casino Night also became the largest student event held at Berry besides Marthapalooza, Crow said.

A clipping from an edition of the Campus
Carrier detailing Casino Night in March
2001. In the clipping, a student explains that
only 20 to 30 students attended the event.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, Casino Night was moved back from February to March 2021, and was held at three different locations. Students had to sign up for time slots to attend Casino Night, as crowds were restricted. 

In 2022, Crow said, Casino Night was pushed back to April, but was otherwise normal as there were no crowd restrictions. In that year, the Black Student Association (BSA) added a dance outside in Kilpatrick Commons.

Now, in 2023, Casino Night has been pushed back to its original February time. Along with the various games and prizes, there will also be a henna tattoo artist.

Additionally, for students who are uncomfortable with large crowds and loud music, the Intercultural Center (ICC) will have a quiet jazz lounge. For a break from the chaos and rowdiness of people testing their luck, students can enjoy a relaxing space with soothing jazz music in the background.

Another change for this year’s Casino Night is that there will be no dance. Outdoor dances worked in the spring months, according to Crow. However, because the event is back in February, it will most likely be cold outside, and so KCAB and the Black Student Association have removed the dance from the Casino Night line-up.

Another photo from the Campus Carrier, published February 14, 2008, in which
Cecily Crow deals a game for students
attending Casino Night. Although not as popular in recent years, faculty
members would volunteer as dealers for the night.

One thing that has remained the same throughout Casino Night’s history is that the event is almost entirely planned and run by students. The entirety of the KCAB staff works on the planning of Casino Night, putting in countless hours the entire week leading up to the event. They even work after Casino Night is over, cleaning up usually into the morning hours, Crow said.

All in all, Casino Night is a student favorite. The chance to dress up and play casino games and really feel like you are playing in Las Vegas is an exciting event for Berry students to escape the rigor of classes and homework.

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