The Otoe-Missouria Tribe in Oklahoma announced an agreement with Perry city officials in January and revealed details of their casino plans for the sleepy yet industrious town of about 5,000 in October last year. Now the Tribal Council has broken ground for the cozy 4,500 square foot casino that is expected to open in the springtime.

In addition to about 100 slot machines, blackjack, poker, and a drive-through smoke shop, the 7 Clans Perry Casino will also host a cafe and bar. The tribe will give the city $250,000 up front and provide $30,000 a year to cover municipal expenses. The casino will be built on a single lot of land, held in trust, within the city limits. Other lots for parking are not on Indian trust land. The casino will be built in a residential neighborhood on a site that recently held abandoned houses.

The tribe runs four other casinos in the area including 7 Clans Paradise Casino in Red Rock, and although new to this generation, gambling has visited Perry before. In  1893, four days before Perry was incorporated, about 100,000 people rushed to the area formerly known as Wharton on a run for land. Overnight some 40,000 tents had been set up. By 4:00 p.m. that day the first beer bar opened selling drinks for $1.00 each, commanding the price due to the lack of potable water available.

Soon the area, five blocks wide and nine blocks deep, was referred to by most as “Hell’s Half Acre” and hosted about 110 saloons and gambling houses – many within 1/2 block of the town’s Historic Downtown Square.

The 7 Clans Perry Casino will be nothing like the gambling halls of yore and may even increase positive tourism to the town some 60 miles from Oklahoma City.