The Golden Mesa Casino in Guymon, Oklahoma. Photo: Golden Mesa

Shawnee Tribe announces September 12 opening date for long-awaited casino

The Shawnee Tribe will open the doors to its long-awaited off-reservation casino in Oklahoma on September 12.

The Golden Mesa Casino features more than 600 gaming machines and six table games. The 42,000 square-foot facility is located in Guymon, more than 400 miles from tribal headquarters.

"We are going to bring visitors from all over that are going to come here," Chris Floyd, the president of Shawnee Development LLC, the tribe's economic development arm, said in a news release.

The 107-acre site in Guymon was chosen due to restrictions placed on land acquisitions in the northeastern part of the state. The Cherokee Nation objects to other tribes seeking trust lands in the same area.

The Shawnees also ran into opposition to prior proposals elsewhere in Oklahoma. Congress at one point intervened and made it harder for the tribe to acquire land in the state.

The tribe, whose federal recognition was restored by Congress in 2000, eventually 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.

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

The Bureau of Indian Affairs approved the environmental assessment for the casino toward the end of the Obama administration. Former Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, 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. Former Secretary Ryan Zinke of the Department of the Interior finally announced approval at a ceremony in Oklahoma City on January 18, 2018.

A notice of the acquisition was published in the Federal Register on March 28, 2018. The tribe's Class III gaming compact with the state of Oklahoma was also approved by the BIA, according to a notice published on June 8, 2018, with an amendment approved on May 8, 2019.

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

Read More on the Story
Golden Mesa Casino in Oklahoma to open next month (Yogonet August 26, 2019)
Golden Mesa Casino to Kick Off Next Month (LCB.Org August 25, 2019)
Golden Mesa Casino announces grand opening (KVII August 20, 2019)

Federal Register Notices
Land Acquisitions: The Shawnee Tribe (March 28, 2018)
Indian Gaming; Approval of a Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact in the State of Oklahoma (June 8, 2018)
Indian Gaming; Approval of Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact Amendment in the State of Oklahoma (May 8, 2019)

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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