Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, center. Photo: ON Communication
Casino Stalker

Osage Nation gave $52K to Missouri governor amid gaming push

The Osage Nation is interested in pursuing gaming on ancestral territory in Missouri.

Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear has identified three potential sites for development, The Osage News, the tribe's newspaper, reported in January. He's already reached out to officials in the state and approved $52,700 in donations for the new governor's inaugural ball in hopes of garnering support for the effort.

“That was me trying to establish a good relationship with the governor of Missouri,” Standing Bear told columnist Tony Messenger of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch of the donations to Gov. Eric Greitens (R). “We thought we would show him respect.”

The tribe once had a reservation in Missouri but would need to acquire trust lands in order to establish a casino there. The land-into-trust process typically takes years to complete.

The tribe also would need to negotiate a Class III gaming compact with the governor if it intends to offer slot machines, blackjack, poker and related games. The state has never entered into such an agreement.

Generally, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act bars casinos on land acquired after 1988. But Section 20 of the law contains an exception for land within a tribe's "last recognized reservation."

In the history of IGRA, the Quapaw Tribe appears to be the only one to have secured this particular exception. In that case, the land was within a former reservation in Kansas.

After living in Missouri, the Osage Nation was forced to move to Kansas and later to present-day Oklahoma. The tribe operates seven gaming facilities in northeastern Oklahoma.

Read More on the Story:
Tony Messenger: Osage Nation hopes $50,000 gift to Greitens paves way for Cuba, Mo., casino (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch 5/27)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Gov. Eric Greitens makes risky wager on dark money donations (The Kansas City Star 6/3)