Tribes Cashing in on Gaming

AMAZING RESORT: The Cherokee Nation Casino Resort opened to the public recently. Located in Catoosa, the resort is the first destination gaming facility in Oklahoma and features numerous restaurants, a hotel, and a golf course, among other attractions.

Several area Native American tribes are building or expanding on gaming opportunities in the Tulsa area. The Cherokees recently opened the Cherokee Casino Resort in Catoosa, while the Osage Nation broke ground in October for its Million Dollar Elm Casino, which will be located northwest of the intersection of the L. L. Tisdale Parkway and 36th Street North. The Creek Nation also has plans to expand its casino at 81st Street and Riverside Drive.

The Cherokee Casino Resort has been described by Principal Chief Chad Smith as “the Jewel of Northeastern Oklahoma.” The resort features an expanded casino, a 70-par golf course, a 150-room hotel with valet service, a conference center, three restaurants, a grille, a gift shop, a sports bar, a piano bar, and two separate stages for live entertainment.

“This property is the first resort destination gaming facility in Oklahoma,” says David Stewart, CEO of Cherokee Nation Enterprises. “It’s one-of-a-kind.”

“This facility provides jobs and economic development for the whole region,” says Smith. “Every dollar we make is used either for services here in northeastern Oklahoma or is reinvested in our businesses to provide more economic opportunity and jobs.”

Cherokee Nation Enterprises, which operates the resort, provides revenue to the Cherokee Nation in the form of a dividend. That money is used to help fund tribal health, education, community services, and housing programs.

The Osage Nation’s Million Dollar Elm Casino is expected to open in late spring 2005. The $15 million, 45,000-square-foot facility will feature 1,000 electronic gaming devices, a full-service restaurant, a bar and lounge, a stage venue, and convenient parking for 800 vehicles.

The casino will employ more than 300 hourly and salaried workers and will have an anticipated $4.65 million impact on the local economy.

The Creek Nation also has plans to expand its facility on the bank of the Arkansas River. Opened in 1985, it is one the oldest gaming facilities in the state.

Updated 11-08-2004

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