Government , Business

Gaming plan of operations amended to allow new Tulsa Osage Casino amenities

TULSA, Okla. – Osage Nation gaming officials are planning to add more features to phase I of the expanded Tulsa Osage Casino Hotel project under construction through mid-2018.

During the 2017 Hun-Kah Session, Osage gaming officials told the Fifth ON Congress that costs for the casino/ hotel are under budget and asked for an amended annual plan of gaming operations to include additional proposed amenities, which could include a covered parking garage, entertainment space and a pool.

The Nation broke ground on the Tulsa flagship casino/ hotel project last fall, which received Congressional approval for costs of up to $150 million. Gaming officials are not seeking to spend more money on the project, but to spend remaining available project money on costs for some amenities proposed for phase II of the expansion project.

After discussion with Osage Casino management and Gaming Enterprise Board officials, the Congress unanimously passed ONCR 17-23 on April 24, which is a resolution declaring Congressional consent and approval of the Nation’s current annual plan of operations.

Congresswoman Alice Buffalohead sponsored the resolution at the request of the gaming board, which she also agrees “is much needed for such a large expansion, I think to do that now is in our best interests for gaming.”

Gaming Board Chairman Mark Simms told the Congressional Commerce, Gaming and Land Committee that current parking space at the Tulsa casino is limited and more space will be needed to accommodate the anticipated increase in traffic with an entertainment center and meeting rooms added to the project. Simms said construction bids came in low, which led to discussions on adding more amenities that “will give us the competitive edge that we need.”

Osage Casino CEO Byron Bighorse said “we’re in a good place here with the favorable economic building conditions … This is the perfect time to do it now with the construction going on, it makes sense, we’re not going to ask for any more money, we’re talking about just adding scope to the work at this point.”

Congresswoman Maria Whitehorn noted more amenities listed in phase II include a second hotel tower, a lower hotel room build-out and expanded parking, which would include a new entry point. She asked Bighorse to clarify if those items would not be considered if the costs run over the already-approved $150 million project budget. Bighorse said they wouldn’t be considered if the cost goes over budget.

Simms said the casino and gaming board prioritized the list of amenities that could be added to phase I with the parking garage, event center and pool at the top. Bighorse said the proposal to add amenities came after consulting with Crossland Construction, which is the company hired for the project.

The expanded Tulsa casino/ hotel project will include 400,000 square feet of new property with casino amenities including 16 table games, five poker tables, 1,500 electronic games, a sports bar and grill, café, a full-service brew pub and a 126-room hotel tower.

As of May 17, construction continued on the casino’s lower levels. To view photos of the casino construction progress, visit www.osagecasinos.com to see images updated periodically.