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HomeGovernmentBusinessBartlesville and Pawhuska Osage Casinos openings delayed until Fall 2023

Bartlesville and Pawhuska Osage Casinos openings delayed until Fall 2023

Osage Casinos CEO Byron Bighorse announced new committed 2023 opening dates with Oct. 27 for Bartlesville and two weeks later on Nov. 10 for Pawhuska.

Due to supply chain issues impacting construction, the new Bartlesville and Pawhuska Osage Casino & Hotels opening dates are now delayed until fall 2023.

Gaming officials announced the delayed openings during the July 27 Gaming Enterprise Board meeting after revisiting the project timelines. With ongoing supply chain issues causing delays in construction materials arriving on-site, gaming officials and its construction partners revised the project plans.

Osage Casinos CEO Byron Bighorse announced new committed 2023 opening dates with Oct. 27 for Bartlesville and two weeks later on Nov. 10 for Pawhuska.

“Both of these new properties in Bartlesville and Pawhuska have been highly anticipated as the demand for our casinos continues to grow. Unfortunately, supply chain issues have created a delay that we could not avoid,” Bighorse said.

Osage Nation government and Gaming Enterprise officials broke ground on both projects in back-to-back ceremonies on June 15, 2021 and initial openings for both properties were expected by Dec. 31, 2022.

Bighorse said the meeting day is “a reality check for everybody … We’ve been bitten by the supply chain bug. If everybody’s watched the news, I hope, you’d understand the economy that we live in is just kind of the way of the world.”

“Given the current economic situation, we feel pretty good about it, however there is another caveat, there could be another war pop-up, there could be a tsunami, there could be recession, inflation, it could push (the opening dates) further, I don’t know that for a fact. Just be prepared,” Bighorse told the board.

According to the most recent design plans, the Bartlesville casino/ hotel sits on more than 125 acres featuring a gaming floor with 500 slot machines and four table games, 11,800 square feet of meeting space and a 100-room hotel. The 57,400 square foot property will also feature a pool and hot tub area with patio.

The Pawhuska casino/ hotel will feature 250 slot machines, meeting space and a hotel with 47 rooms – both traditional and suites – as well as a pool, hot tub and fitness center on 60 acres of land.

The Gaming Enterprise’s general contractor on both casino projects is Crossland Construction, which has a Tulsa office and also built the flagship Tulsa Osage Casino & Hotel completed and opened in 2018. The Gaming Enterprise also hired White Buffalo LLC as the owner’s representative on both casino projects.

Bighorse said construction activities will continue as possible amid the delays. Greg Smith, division manager for Crossland Construction’s Tulsa office, said “we’re going to continue as far as we can with all the mechanical rough-ends with drywall and then at some point we’re going to bring in HVAC equipment as necessary to allow the finishes to get done” until the buildings’ HVAC units are installed.

Gaming Enterprise Board Chair Geoff Hager applauded the updates “because of the visible nature of this project, it’s the highest profile construction project that we have going on. It probably goes without saying the important nature of these projects, every month that we go without opening is lost revenue. The good thing is we have functioning casinos at both of these locations, so we’re able to continue the (current) operations.”

Hager asked Smith about what he is seeing contribute to the supply chain delays, which are also impacting other projects worldwide.

Smith said foreign country of origin shipping delays are occurring, custom-built items are also impacted in addition to raw material availability issues. Smith said other Crossland Construction projects are also being impacted by the supply chain issues.

Mark Simms, gaming board member, said the Nation’s seven Osage Casinos continue “performing at top-notch” and the ongoing plans to pursue gaming expansion in Missouri are not impacted either.

For gaming revenue outlook, Hager said “we still have projected growth that’s outside of the (two casinos) openings, we’re continuing to implement things to maximize our revenue growth within the existing casinos.”

Congresswoman Jodie Revard asked the gaming board if the forthcoming tribal distribution for the 2023 fiscal year is still on target amid the delays. Hager replied “yes.” In April, the Seventh ON Congress approved resolution ONCR 22-05 to set the FY 2023 projected revenue for the Nation’s government, which includes $63 million coming from gaming revenue aside from non-tribal funding sources. The Gaming Enterprise Board sets a tribal distribution from gaming revenue which represents most of the money the Osage government receives annually to fund operations of various departments and entities throughout its three branches.

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Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.
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