Outlook 2020: Casinos play a key role in the economy | Local

With the flagship three-tribe casinos in the immediate vicinity of the Tulsa metropolitan area, slot machines and blackjack continue to play a key role in the region’s economy.

Cherokee Nation’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa in Catoosa has approximately 2,600 electronic games and 454 rooms. The most recent expansion of the property, completed in February, added 65,000 square feet to accommodate 450 electronic and table games, a new poker room, a 7,000 square foot multipurpose center, additional space for VIP and Track 5, music live two-story venue with a 1,200-square-foot dance floor.

In fiscal 2018 alone, Cherokee Nation and its commercial arm, Cherokee Nation Businesses, had an economic impact of $ 2.16 billion on northeastern Oklahoma, including support for 3,542 jobs right in Tulsa County .

Thirty-seven percent of the profits from the Cherokee Nation Businesses game are automatically reinvested in tribal programs and services, including university scholarships, housing and health care.

The game is also physically and physically facilitating the tribe’s language conservation efforts. Along with a multi-million dollar investment to offer lessons through Rogers State University’s public television, the former Tahlequah casino is in the process of being converted into a language facility that will house the diving school, translation department and Cherokee Nation Master of Cherokee Nation Apprentice Program.

“We are about to quadruple our language programs,” chief chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. told the inter-tribal council of the general session of the five civilized tribes. “We are already seeing the implementation of planning in our language departments. It will be the Durbin Feeling Language Center and we are quite proud of it.

“We will spread this language all over the world.”

The remainder of the proceeds are spent on gaming commissions, job development programs and operating expenses, including the payment of $ 197.7 million in payroll and benefits in fiscal year 2018 alone. This figure was calculated before the tribe increased his minimum wage from $ 9.50 an hour to $ 11 in 2019.

The footprint on the northwest side of Tulsa also continues to grow.

The largest of Osage’s seven casino properties, Osage Casino Tulsa, 951 W. 36th St. North, covers 247,000 square feet. Thanks to a $ 160 million refurbishment project in 2018, the casino hosts 1,500 electronic games, 16 table games, 141 hotel rooms, the 2,000-seat Skyline Event Center, meeting space and a full-service microbrewery, Nine Band Brewing Co.

Another round of expansion is currently underway, as construction of a second hotel tower began in July. The $ 28 million project is expected to be completed this summer, adding 145 rooms.

The largest external source of revenue for the Osage nation, the games provide around $ 40 million a year for tribal programs and services, including a health benefit plan for all Osage citizens and Daposka Ahnkondapi, the elementary diving school. of the Osage nation in Pawhuska.

Meanwhile, even with the temporary closure of its flagship property due to the record-breaking spring floods of the Arkansas River, Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s game revenue increased by 5.7% in 2019, according to the financial report released from the tribe in late January.

The largest of the nine casinos in Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the River Spirit Casino Resort employs approximately 1,600 people, as well as another 200 workers at Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Margaritaville.

This increase allowed the tribe to provide financial assistance to 1,732 university students at the end of 2019, including 39 PhD students.

“Education allows all citizens to pursue a better quality of life,” said chief chief David Hill during his state of the nation speech. “We must provide our children with the tools to achieve these goals.”

Read more stories from the Outlook section

.