Six years after announcing a new casino and hotel would be built at Osage Casinos Ponca City location, it was built and the doors finally opened on Dec. 22.
The official ribbon cutting is Dec. 23 at 10 a.m.
More than 300 guests showed up to take advantage of the Osage Tribal Day at the casino, a preview specifically for tribal members. Osages got the pleasure of free hors d’oeuvres, tours of the 46-room hotel, ballroom and conference center, the game floor, The Salted Fork restaurant and other amenities the facility offered.
Donna Barrone, Osage and a resident of Grayhorse, was proud of the new casino and came with friends.
“I think with the Tribal Day, the Osage Nation is finally taking a step in the right direction,” she said. “This place is very, very nice.”
Jennifer Swords, general manager of Osage Casinos - Ponca City, addressed the air quality of the facility, the details of the hotel and casino, and the exceptionally clear ice at the casino.
“I wanted to talk to you about the air quality that’s going to be on this state-of-the-art casino floor. Casino management realizes that this is one of the biggest complaints of our guests and was also a challenge of casino property,” she said. “When we went into the design process, we wanted to make air quality one of the main areas of focus. As a result we have raised flooring on the casino floor and … the state-of-the-art ventilation system is constantly pushing fresh air from the outside up through the slot faces, blowing the smoke away from you. The days of those smoky casinos are far behind us.”
She said the casino floor has more than 345 electronic games, six table games, including Black Jack, Texas Hold’em and three-card poker. The hotel has 46 rooms, each over 400 square feet, a business center, a fully equipped fitness center, pool and spa. The pool features underwater speakers and is climate controlled, “it’s heated right now if anyone is up for a dip?” To which everybody laughed because an ice storm hit Osage County two days prior and the temperature outside was below 20 degrees.
The Casino’s banquet space can seat up to 400 guests and can be converted into three separate meeting spaces. The restaurant, The Salted Fork, will serve American cuisine and will be open for lunch and dinner. The Copper Tap sports bar offers 12 beers on tap and is equipped with 12 flat-screen televisions. The bar features six tabletop games so people can drink, play and watch the game.
The OC convenience store is open 24/7 and offers large bay pumps for trucks and boats. The ice in the convenience store and on the casino floor will be the best in town. “Pay attention to the crystal clear detail of the ice, we invested in a reverse osmosis system, so the ice is exceptionally clear,” she said.
The convenience store also has a walk-in beer cooler.
She thanked everyone for coming and told attendees the “O” design in the Osage Casinos logo has three swooshes and they represent the three In-Lon-Schka districts: Grayhorse, Hominy and Pawhuska. She also said the swooshes point in the direction Osages dance around the drum, counterclockwise.
Neil Cornelius, CEO of Osage Casinos, said there were countless people involved in making the casino a reality over the years. He thanked the Casino executive team, the Gaming Enterprise Board, the architectural team, Square One Hill and Osage Manhattan Builders. The information technology team, slots team, table games team, accounting and receiving, food and beverage, hotel team, management team, “we’ve got outstanding people back there.”
This is the second ground-up facility with the new Osage Casinos brand, the first being Osage Casinos - Skiatook. He said the project was on time and within budget.
“It’s a meaningful day because I think it really throws the Osage into the spotlight,” Cornelius said. “So congratulations Osage, you’ve done a great job and let’s keep it going.”
Tribal members and guests took commemorative photos in front of an Osage Casinos backdrop.
“This is a definite improvement,” said Anthony Cass, who drove from Pawhuska for the tribal day. “I’d drive from Pawhuska to come to this casino and stay in the hotel. It’s nice, very nice.”
To see more photos from the Osage Tribal Day at the Osage Casinos – Ponca City location, visit theOsage NewsFlickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/osagenews/