More booze and gambling

Osage Nation is building a bigger casino with clubs

Now that Oklahoma has voted to liberalize its liquor laws, tribal casinos are racing to expand their facilities in and around Tulsa.

That means a lot more booze and gambling in and around Tulsa.

The latest announcement is from the Osage Nation, which broke ground for a 66,280 square foot expansion to the Osage Nation’s Tulsa Casino. The design was by Marnell Architecture, a company that designed The Bellagio and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The expanded casino will room for 1,500 new slot machines, 16 tables (for blackjack) and five poker tables. To take advantage of the liberalized liquor laws, the Osage Casino will have a full-service brew pub and a sports bar.

“The expansion of Osage Nation’s Tulsa casino and the addition of the hotel is truly a milestone for the Osage Nation,” said Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. “Not only does it impact the nation, it positively impacts the Tulsa community and surrounding areas by creating jobs, contributing to economic development and meeting the mission of the Nation. This groundbreaking ceremony is a way to celebrate a great venue.”

This will be the biggest gambling operation ever by the Osage Tribe.

“This will be a game-changer for the Osage Casino in Tulsa,” said Byron Bighorse, Osage Casino’s CEO.

The addition of more bars and more gambling drew praise from Tulsa Regional Chamber President and CEO Mike Neal. He described the project as having “economic fortitude.”

“This expansion of the Tulsa casino and addition of a hotel offers a great opportunity for economic growth in the Tulsa area,” Neal said. “We are looking forward to the jobs and tourism opportunities it will bring to our community.”

The Osage Casino and Hotel in Tulsa is one of seven casinos owned and operated by the Osage Nation. The Osage Tribe has casinos in Hominy, Pawhuska, Sand Springs, Bartlesville, Skiatook, Ponca City and Tulsa.

According to the tribe’s website, the huge profits from the gambling and liquor sales “are used to fund tribal government or programs, provide for the general welfare of the tribe and its members, promote tribal economic development and support charitable organizations.”

Bighorse pointed to the success of other Tulsa brew pubs, such as Prairie, Marshall and Elgin Park. The brew pub concept, he said, also will set it apart from the rock ‘n’ roll theme of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Catoosa, as well as Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville (bar) offerings at the River Spirit Casino.

“There’s a lot of regulatory hurdles we need to clear with our own government, as well as the state of Oklahoma,” Bighorse said.