Missouri, fondly called the "Show Me" State, is almost launching a new casino. The Osage Tribe has strived to set up a gaming establishment in Lake Ozark for several months. Reports state that it has already chosen an appropriate site for its casino.
Still, the Osage Nation needs to liaise with the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) for approval to rezone its land. A few weeks ago, the Tribe declared that it would accept Missouri-based demolition contractors' bids. There is a vacant hotel on 3501 Bagnell Dam Blvd., the Tribe's building site.
Osage Nation leaders have teamed up and are working on different fronts together. Missouri law restricts the number of local casinos to 13. So, the Tribe has to get approval for a Class II gaming license issued according to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
The leaders have already sought approval from the U.S. DOI, and they intend to set up other casinos in Oklahoma. Sometimes, the DOI takes more than a year to approve some land zoning applications.
This prevents the Tribe from developing the land now, and it has to keep its plans to build a $60 million casino and hotel complex on hold. Once the application goes through, the Osage Casino will start signing players from Ozarks, being the first casino in the region.
The Hotel's Demolition Plans
The Osage Nation declared in October 2021 that it intends to venture into Miller County's gaming market. It currently has seven casinos in Oklahoma and hadn't picked a building site when it made the announcement. But, the Nation later acquired Quality Inn on Bagnell Dam Blvd.
The Tribe has to demolish the motel to build a casino and hotel. It has been receiving demolition bids from different contractors for more than a week. The Osage tribal leaders will close the bids on Feb. 15th, and demolition will start once it picks a contractor.
The Osage Nation has other construction projects besides the Ozark Casino. For example, it is currently building two Osage Casinos in Oklahoma and has a casino hotel construction on a 60-acre piece of land in Pawhuska.
The Nation has a casino project on 125 acres in Bartlesville. It projects to complete the Bartlesville and Pawhuska casinos before next year.
Details About the Osage Casino
The Osage Nation's new project in Missouri is smaller than the ones in Oklahoma. It will cover 28 acres, while the others are on 60 acres and 125 acres of land. Also, it has a smaller price tag.
The leaders plan to spend $100 million on their Oklahoma casinos, while the Ozark Casino will need $60 million. It will comprise a hotel complex with a casino floor, restaurants, and an entertainment joint. But, the local community has been objecting to the casino project.
Statistics show that Miller County earns most of its revenue from tourists. So, the establishment of a new casino will boost its economic growth. Moreover, it will offer some community members job opportunities.
The Project's Approval Might Not be Instant
Missouri currently has 13 casinos, and it cannot license new casinos under its current laws. Organizations like Osage River Gaming haven't set up new gaming sites in the state due to this limitation. Even so, Missouri casino laws won't apply to the Osage Nation if it manages to get a DOI approval.
The state will transfer the Tribe's project into federal trust, thus eliminating the need to get a Missouri gaming license, as it will be listed as an Indian casino. Also, the approval will help the Osage Casino to be the only local casino that isn't on the Mississippi or Missouri rivers.
Generally, the state's gaming laws need all casinos to have riverboat gaming operations. But the Tribe might have to wait for up to two years to get the approval. By then, the DOI will have ascertained if its proposed project adheres to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.