Chickasaw Nation submits casino bid amid change in administration

A view of Lake Texoma in Oklahoma, which draws about 6 million visitors a year. Photo by John Purget The Chickasaw Nation has submitted a land-into-trust application for a new casino in Oklahoma, The Journal Record reports.

The development will occur on about 62 acres that the tribe owns at Lake Texoma. Plans call for a hotel, a restaurant, a gift shop and a casino with up to 300 gaming machines.

In the past, the tribe has gained quick approval of its land-into-trust applications but Commerce Secretary Bill Lance doesn't believe a decision will come before the end of the Obama administration, The Journal Record reports. The Bureau of Indian Affairs will be seeing a new leader following the inauguration of a new president in January 2017.

The site falls within historic Chickasaw Nation and Choctaw Nation territory. It's located near the Texas border, an area crucial for both tribes' gaming enterprises.

The Chickasaws already operate the Texoma Casino just a short distance to the west of the lake. And the Choctaws operate a casino in Durant, about 14 miles east of the lake.

Generally, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act bars casinos on land placed in trust after 1988. But an exception in Section 20 of the law allows gaming on properties located within the boundaries a former reservation in Oklahoma.

The Chickasaws have utilized the exception repeatedly to expand their gaming empire -- back in 2003, Indianz.Com counted 11 facilities on newly acquired lands. The tribe now operates more casinos than any other in Oklahoma or the United States.

Read More on the Story:
Chickasaw Nation seeks land trust for Lake Texoma project (AP 11/7)
A matter of trust: Texoma resort must wait for feds (The Journal Record11/7)

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