After posting record numbers in 2015, the Osage Nation will break ground on its $150 million Tulsa casino expansion project today.
The expansion of the decade-old, 47,000 square foot Osage Casino on 36th Street will take place in four phases and is expected to exceed $500 million at build-out. Phase one of the expansion will have a $150 million price tag and include a six-story hotel with 126 rooms and six suites, a full retail and entertainment complex, and a new 88,000 square feet casino floor, with additional slots, table games, and a new poker room. Upon completion, the tribe hopes to include a golf course and a full retail and entertainment complex. Convention space, including a ballroom and flexible space; a sports bar and grill, parking garage, and a new casino bar are included among additional or eventual changes that would be included.
Byron Bighorse, CEO of Osage Casinos, told News on 6, “The money that we create funds services for the tribe, so it’s very personal to me. I spend it as if it is my own money.” The CEO also said that they are adding a brewery concept to the casino and will be teaming with a company out of Texas for that endeavor. Bighorse told the news agency, “We are in a highly competitive market, so we need to offer a product that is comparable to our competition – that way we get visits. We all share the same people; it is a local’s market.”
The expansion of the Tulsa casino will be the fourth renovation of an Osage Nation property since 2011. In his address to the Osage Nation Congress’ Commerce and Economic Development Committee in September, Bighorse said that the tribe’s seven gaming venues in Oklahoma fund more than 90 percent of the tribal government’s services, with the Tulsa casino accounting for 44 percent of the net income for the entire gaming enterprise.
Hoping to expand its footprint in Oklahoma, in January, the Osage Nation Congress passed a resolution for the tribe to file applications for land-into-trust status for two different sites. Both sites would be used for casino gaming if approved.
Meanwhile, the Chickasaw Nation recently announced that it plans to develop a casino resort near Lake Texoma. The plan that would transform the former state operated Lake Texoma Lodge and Resort, would include a three-storey hotel, approximately 300 electronic gaming machines, 10 lakefront cottages for boating and fishing, business and meeting rooms, restaurants, and a fitness center.