New York | Openings & Closings

Oneida Nation plans to open $20M 'Wizard of Oz'-themed casino


Artist's rendering of the Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango, New York. Image from Oneida Nation

The Oneida Nation of New York announced plans to open a $20 million casino in the spring of 2015.

The Yellow Brick Road Casino will be located in Chittenango. The facility will feature 430 electronic Class II gaming machines, a 500-seat bingo hall, two casual eateries, a country-western bar and a general store.

"It will be a different experience than Turning Stone,'' Oneida Nation Ray Halbritter told The Syracuse Post-Standard, referring to the tribe's Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, about 18 miles away. "It will be more of a casual venue, and one that will pay respects to the community's identity. It will be an exciting, fresh look."

Halbritter said the Chittenango site is already in trust but it does not appear to be a part of a land-into-trust application that was finalized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in August. It's not on this map from the Post-Standard or on this list from the environmental impact statement but the property could have been acquired at a different date.

Generally, land acquired after 1988 can't be used for gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The law contains exceptions although it's not clear if any apply to the Oneida Nation.

Chittenango was the birthplace of L. Frank Baum, the author of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz so that's why the tribe went with the Yellow Brick Road theme. Baum was a newspaper editor who called for the "extirmination" of Indian people just days after the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee.

Get the Story:
Exclusive: Oneida Indian Nation opening new casino in Central New York (The Syracuse Post-Standard 12/21)
Oneida Indian Nation Announces 2015 Plan for New "Oz" Themed Casino (CNY Central 12/21)
Oneida Indian Nation plans to open Oz-themed casino in Chittenango (WSYR 12/21)
Oneida Indian Nation to open Chittenango casino this spring (The Oneida Dispatch 12/22)
Reaction mixed to Oneidas' new Chittenango casino: What are they saying? (The Syracuse Post-Standard 12/22)