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Jena Choctaws celebrate second birthday of Class II facility


The Jena Choctaw Pines Casino in Creola, Louisiana. Photo by Robinaire / Wikipedia

The Jena Band of Choctaw Indians in Louisiana is still looking for ways to expand its Class II facility.

The Jena Choctaw Pines Casino opened its doors to the public two years ago this month. The 46,000 square-foot facility is doing well enough that the tribe is about to complete a refinancing.

"We're growing, but we're growing small and wisely," Chief Cheryl Smith told The Alexandria Town Talk. "There's such a thing as getting too big. We never want to overextend and burden the tribe with debt we can't pay back."

Smith said customers have already outgrown the food venues at the casino so she hopes the tribe can address those soon. Further down the line, she is considering whether to push for a Class III gaming compact again.

Other tribes in the state have compacts but Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who is often described as a presidential contender, won't negotiate. Prior efforts were derailed by the Bush administration -- rival tribes hired convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff to prevent the Jena Choctaws from joining the Indian gaming industry.

Get the Story:
Choctaw Pines considering future (The Alexandria Town Talk 2/14)

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Jena Band fulfills dream with debut of Class II gaming facility (02/20)