Shawnee Tribe works with Chickasaw Nation on casino plan

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

The Shawnee Tribe and the Chickasaw Nation are working together on an off-reservation casino project in Oklahoma.

The Shawnees plan to spend $25 million on the Golden Mesa Casino in Guymon, a city in the Panhandle portion of the state. Global Gaming Solutions, a Chickasaw subsidiary, would manage the facility if it ever gets built.

"The approval process of a project this size consists of a number of stages before building can begin," the Shawnees said on Facebook last week. "We are still in the approval process and hope to soon move forward with the next stage of the project."

The Shawnees 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.

The Chickasaw Nation owns and operates the WinStar World Casino and Resort, in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Photo from Facebook

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:
Does a state-sponsored casino belong in panhandle? (The High Plains Daily Leader and Times 8/20)

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