Closed since May 22 due to issues related to the swollen and surging Arkansas River, River Spirit Casino will reopen at 8am on June 21, 2019, a full 10 days earlier than expected. The property’s popular tropical-themed riverside pool, however, will remain closed until mid-to-late July.

The welcomed announcement came via a planned news conference on Thursday at the Tulsa property owned and operated by the federally recognized, Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

According to Tulsa World

Tribal officials initially expected that the venue at 8330 Riverside Pkwy would not reopen until the end of this month.

Chief Executive Officer for River Spirit Casino, Pat Crofts, said…

“You probably have all seen some videos. They look terrible. Quite honestly, very little water got into the building.

“All of the damage was contained on the lower level of the facility, or our pool deck, down to the lower levels.”

Extent of flooding:

Speaking from inside the resort near the entrance of the Paradise Cove event center, Crofts explained that at no time did the floodwaters get ‘closer than 12 feet below where he was standing.’

He said that that was the “biggest misconception, that the casino got flooded, the restaurant got flooded, the hotel rooms.”

The fitness center, salon and spa on the lower level were, however, reached by the floodwaters and will reopen in phases over the summer, according to the CEO.

Structural integrity:

Crofts went on to say that tribal officials were never concerned that the structure would be compromised, making note of the fact that is was built with some 700 concrete piers that extend deep into the earth and are ‘socketed to bedrock.’  He said that the decision to reopen the venue ahead of the expected end-of-the-month estimate was only made after it was thoroughly inspected by Wallace Engineering, and that the “the building is in great shape.”

Employee priority:

According to Principal Chief, James Floyd, 1,600 people are employed by River Spirit, with an additional 200 employed at Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Margaritaville.

Floyd said…“Our first commitment is to our employees, and so with the support of River Spirit, we committed to paying all employees during this closure. And that payroll was approximately $2.5 million per pay period.”

FEMA evaluation:

Speaking after the press conference, Floyd said that it has yet to be determined by the Creek Nation just how much it has spent on repairs at the Tulsa property, as well as its other Oklahoma properties damaged by record-breaking flooding that is hammering communities along the Arkansas River.

On Friday, the tribe is reportedly scheduled to meet with FEMA representatives to address the assessment and reimbursement process.

On June 21, guests can stay at the casino’s new 27 story 483-room hotel, which celebrated its grand opening on January 1, 2017, and rooms can be booked immediately. Dinner reservations for Ruth’s Chris Steak House can also be made for that night. Also, the Rodney Carrington show will go on as scheduled for June 29.

Located adjacent to the Arkansas River, River Spirit Casino is the largest of the Creek Nation’s nine Oklahoma casinos.