Government , Business

Gaming Enterprise Board to issue monthly statements to Osage public

TULSA, Okla. – The Osage Nation’s Gaming Enterprise Board is working on a plan to share more information with Osage constituents from the board regarding gaming.

The five-member board voted unanimously to work on a plan to provide a monthly narrative to the Osage public. Board member Mark Revard made the motion during a Jan. 18 meeting after hearing discussion from Osage Congress members in attendance regarding questions they receive about the casino expansion progress and costs.

Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead told the board she received several inquiries regarding the multi-phase project to expand the Tulsa Osage Casino. The casino and Nation officials broke ground on a phase one casino and hotel project in November 2016 and Buffalohead said she received questions on whether the Congress approved the other three phases as well.

Gaming board Chairman Mark Simms, a former ON Congressman, said discussions on the casino project date back to 2010 with various designs considered and said he understood a lot of people are paying attention and added he believes the board needs to put out a statement.

Osage Casinos CEO Byron Bighorse said he told area news outlets who covered the Tulsa expansion groundbreaking the $150 million casino/ hotel project is in phase one and that’s all that’s been approved at this time. That portion received approval from the ON Congress, which approves the annual plan for casino operations including construction plans.

Congresswoman Maria Whitehorn also agreed with the statement idea and said she also gets inquiries from constituents and some of those questions are regarding the discussions on expanding Osage gaming operations into Missouri.

Simms, who sits on a committee to explore economic and tourism opportunities, said he would share more information in the meeting’s executive session. Per the Osage open meetings law, executive sessions may be held to discuss confidential and proprietary business matters.

A timeline on the first statement from the gaming board is unknown. The Gaming Enterprise Board website shares basic information, as well as the most recent annual report on the Osage Casino operations. The website is located at: www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/gaming-enterprise-board