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

Shawnee Tribe wins federal approval of Class III gaming compact

The Shawnee Tribe continues to make progress on a long-awaited off-reservation casino in Oklahoma.

When the Golden Mesa Casino opens next summer, it will feature slot machines, blackjack and related offerings. That's because tribe has won federal approval for its Class III gaming compact, according to a notice being published in the Federal Register on Friday.

"The compact authorizes the tribe to engage in certain class III gaming activities, provides for certain geographical exclusivity, limits the number of gaming machines at existing racetracks, and prohibits non-tribal operation of certain machines and covered games," the notice states.

The tribe broke ground on the facility last week. The 42,000 square-foot facility is going up in the city of Guymon, in the panhandle region of Oklahoma.

Indianz.Com on Google Maps: Shawnee Tribe Homelands in Oklahoma

The 107-acre site, about 400 miles from tribal headquarters, was chosen due to restrictions placed on land acquisitions in the northeastern part of the state. The tribe also ran into opposition to prior proposals elsewhere.

The tribe pursued Golden Mesa under two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The process requires approval from both the federal government as well as the state in which the casino will be located.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the environmental assessment for the casino toward the end of the Obama administration. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) gave her blessing shortly afterward.

The Trump administration, however, held up the final portion -- the land-into-trust application for the gaming site -- for a year for unexplained reasons. Secretary Ryan Zinke of the Department of the Interior finally announced approval at a ceremony in Oklahoma City on January 18.

The casino is being developed in partnership with Global Gaming Solutions, a subsidiary of the Chickasaw Nation.

Forthcoming Federal Register Notice:
Indian Gaming; Approval of a Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact in the State of Oklahoma (To Be Published June 7, 2018)

Relevant Documents:
Shawnee Tribe Land-Into-Trust (151) Decision Letter [Trump Administration] (January 19, 2018)
Shawnee Tribe Decision Letter and Two-Part Determination [Obama Administration] (January 19, 2017)

DOI on Flickr: Shawnee Tribe Fee-To-Trust Signing

Shawnee Tribe Fee-To-Trust Signing

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