The first tribal casino in the Tulsa market to open ball and dice game tables to the public, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa celebrated its 65,000-square-foot expansion with a topping off ceremony on Wednesday.

According to Tulsa World

Cherokee Nation Business representatives, including Principal Chief, Bill John Baker, were on hand to put the finishing piece of steel in its place in the 65,000-square-foot structure. The new facility includes a new poker room, 450 electronic games, along with additional space for VIPs, a country-themed live entertainment venue and a multipurpose center.


The expansion, which began in April when the resort’s oldest structure was razed, is reportedly due to be completed in spring 2019.

At the news conference on Wednesday, Chief Bill John Baker said…

“When they first put this land in trust for a bingo hall, there were Cherokees that thought gaming might not be a good idea, that it might not be good for our people. Bingo was hard-pressed to pay the tribe $5 million a year. We have smoke shops that pay that now.

“This expansion is wonderful and great. But it wouldn’t be near as wonderful and great if the end result of it wasn’t building a 469,000-square-foot clinic in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, that will truly make the lives of Cherokees better.”

The only one of its kind in Tulsa’s casino scene:

The permanent replacement for the tent-like facility that served as a country-western-themed venue at the casino, will retain that theme, with the addition of a larger dance floor. The second floor of the new addition will be home to a larger poker room. Meanwhile, weddings, special promotions and private parties will take place in the 6,800-square-foot multipurpose center.

Since its opening in 2004, the Oklahoma casino has undergone several transformations including the addition of a pair of hotel towers, more than 23,000 square feet of convention space, a non-smoking gaming area complete with a food court and sports bar and a 2,700-seat concert venue.

In March 2015, $6.9 million in renovations were approved by the board of Cherokee Nation Businesses, including a $2.1 million renovation of the hotel lobby, a $2.5 million luxury spa and the addition of a $2.3 million, 16,000 square-foot pool area, complete with an adults-only, resort-style swimming pool.

The spa and the pool were opened in 2017.

Business arm:

Cherokee Nation Entertainment, LLC is the gaming, entertainment and retail business of the Cherokee Nation. In addition to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, it owns and operates nine Cherokee Casinos, including a horse racing track/Will Rodgers Downs; three hotels; three golf courses and various other retail operations.

In a statement, Chief Executive Officer for Cherokee Nation Businesses, Shawn Slaton said…

“Our loyal guests have consistently enjoyed the country venue that stood here before, so we are bringing it back.

“Our team is dedicated to providing the ultimate guest experience, and this expansion will allow us to exceed expectations yet again. It’s what drives us to be the best in the market and positions us to support the Cherokee Nation with job creation and funding for services to Cherokee Nation citizens. We couldn’t make any of this possible without our dedicated workforce sharing in our mission.”