In Oklahoma, a plan by the Shawnee Tribe to build a $25 million casino near the panhandle city of Guymon is reportedly continuing to draw criticism including most recently from a Republican member of the Oklahoma State Senate.

According to a report from The Oklahoman newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe wants to partner with the Chickasaw Nation to build its Golden Mesa Casino on a 107-acre plot of land approximately three miles southwest of the Texas County city and offer some 600 slots along with around eight gaming tables.

But, the plan for the 42,309 sq ft Golden Mesa Casino has been drawing local condemnation ever since it was first announced in February of 2015 particularly because it would be built some 400 miles away from the Shawnee Tribe’s headquarters, which is located near the city of Miami in far northeast of Oklahoma and only 28 miles from Joplin, Missouri.

The Shawnee Tribe had its federal recognition restored in December of 2000 and reportedly wants the land for its Golden Mesa Casino taken into trust. In order for this to happen, it must first pass a two-art determination process under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which was a route most recently accomplished in 2014 by the Kaw Nation for its SouthWind Casino Braman in northern Oklahoma.

However, Oklahoma State Senator Bryce Marlatt, who represents District 27 of the Oklahoma State Senate, told The Oklahoman that it would be “a terrible precedent by the federal government” to approve the casino on “lands where tribes have no historical ties”.

“This could open a floodgate of casinos and other tribal ventures on almost every corner in Oklahoma,” Marlatt, who represents nine Oklahoma counties including Texas County, told the newspaper. “This move is also concerning to citizens in the panhandle because of the societal ills associated with the proliferation of gambling.”

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