Community welcomes Shawnee Tribe off-reservation casino

Artist's rendering of the Golden Mesa Casino in Guymon, Oklahoma. Image from Shawnee Tribe

The Shawnee Tribe is seeing a favorable reception to its proposed off-reservation casino in Oklahoma.

The tribe plans to build the Golden Mesa Casino in Guymon, a city in the Panhandle. Mayor Kim Peterson hopes the project will bring people to the area.

"We're looking at new residents, we're working on housing. Hopefully the casino will stimulate people to want to come out of the metro areas and build affordable here," Peterson told KFDA.

The Guymon Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the development. "We're excited, it's a little intimidating but it's a really great thing," the group's executive director told KFDA.

The tribe has acquired 107 acres near a highway for the project. A post on the Facebook page for the casino indicated a land-into-trust application has been submitted to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

"We are currently working to receive approval through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and that process could take up to a year," the tribe said in response to a question about local contractors. "After approval is received, we would begin construction which could take another 12 to 18 months."

The tribe gained federal recognition through an act of Congress in 2000. The law, as originally written, could have allowed the tribe to acquire land for a casino just about anywhere in Oklahoma.

After plans for a casino in Oklahoma City drew controversy, Congress amended the law. The tribe now has to meet the requirements of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act before opening a casino on newly acquired land.

As a restored tribe, the Shawnees could qualify for an exception in Section 20 of IGRA. But a prior attempt at the Oklahoma City site was rejected by the Bureau of Indian Affairs back in 2010.

According to the BIA's decision, the tribe failed to demonstrate a "modern connection" and a "historical connection" to the Oklahoma City site, which was more than 190 miles from tribal headquarters in Miami. Guymon is more than 400 miles from Miami so it appears that the tribe faces similar hurdles there.

Alternatively, the tribe can pursue the casino under the two-part determination provisions of IGRA. The situation is rare in Oklahoma but not unprecedented -- the Kaw Nation became the the first tribe in the state to complete both steps of the process in 2014.

Get the Story:
The Shawnee Tribe bringing the gaming experience to the Oklahoma panhandle (KFDA 2/18)
Shawnee Tribe plans panhandle casino (The Native American Times 2/18)
Shawnee Tribe Plans to Build Casino Near Guymon (My High Plains 2/18)
Shawnee Tribe to build casino near Guymon (The Miami News-Record 2/19)

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Shawnee Tribe announces off-reservation casino in Oklahoma (2/18)

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