After breaking ground on May 31, 2018, the federally recognized Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma will celebrate the grand opening of its Golden Mesa Casino in Guymon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 12.

In March last year, an official deed signing at the Anadarko office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) placed the approximately 107-acre site in trust in the extreme northwestern region of the state.

it’s the first of it’s kind, top shelf, entertainment venue for the Panhandle

Located some 370 miles from the tribe’s headquarters in Miami, OK, the city was chosen by the tribe and its partners, Chickasaw Nation subsidiary, Global Gaming Solutions, due to land acquisition restrictions in the northeastern part of Oklahoma and opposition to previous projects in other areas of the state.

Casino features:

The long-awaited opening of the 42,000 square foot off-reservation casino will feature more than 600 electronic gaming machines and at least a half dozen table games. Named to honor the natural beauty of the region, Golden Mesa Casino will also offer a small diner along with retail space and office space for the tribe.

According to KVII ABC7 News, President of Shawnee, the tribe’s economic development corporation, Chris Floyd, said…

“I think why they are excited and why we see this as a great opportunity for everyone involved is because it’s the first of it’s kind, top shelf, entertainment venue for the Panhandle.”

“We are going to bring visitors from all over that are going to come here. They are going to be entertained here at our facility and they are also going to be staying overnight and shopping and eating at the local restaurants, and bringing a new economy we believe to this area,” added Floyd.

Floyd expects that the casino will have an annual economic impact of at least $36-million and to support some 175 jobs.

Tribal status:

The Shawnee Tribe was able to regain its own tribal status, independent of the Cherokee Nation, when Congress enacted the legislation known as Public Law 106-568, or the Shawnee Tribe Status Act of 2000, which President Clinton signed as one of his final acts in office on December 28, 2000.

Shawnee Development LLC, Chairman, Greg Pitcher, said…

“For the first time it will allow us to be self sufficient and not have to depend on others and other governments.”

Tribal status allowed the Shawnee to begin work on getting off-reservation land for the casino.

The tribe pursued the casino under the two-part determination process outlined by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and nearly two years after first announcing the project, the environmental assessment was finalized by the BIA, and soon after Oklahoma Governor, Mary Fallin followed suit.

After being held up by the Trump administration for all of 2017, on January 19, 2018, approval of the Shawnee Tribe’s land into trust application was announced by U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, at a January 18, 2018 signing ceremony.

Long shot:

Pitcher, who is also responsible for overseeing government relations for the tribe, said…

“It really was kind of a long shot and it took a lot of years to do it and perfect it, but with the help of Global Gaming and the Chickasaw Nation we were able to finance it, get the job done, and we are looking forward to the benefits that our tribal members will have from that.”

Expected benefits:

At the May groundbreaking last year, Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce, Bill Lance, said that they expect the new casino and entertainment venue to attract visitors form a five-state region including Kansas, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

Lance explained, “These visitors will spend their dollars in the local economy, bringing real benefits – creating jobs, spinning off other businesses, generating tax revenues, not to mention the excitement created with this new entertainment venue.”