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Gaming Enterprise Board announces additional $9 million distribution for ON government

Thanks to continued successful business strides, the Osage Nation Gaming Enterprise Board announced an additional $9 million in Osage Casinos gaming revenue will be distributed to the Nation’s government.

On June 25, the gaming board announced the distribution of an additional “$9,029,588.21 to the Osage Nation as a result of its continued growth post-pandemic. The distribution is a true up to the Nation above and beyond its monthly contributions.”

News of the additional gaming distribution comes as the Nation’s seven-casino properties adjusted to “new normal” business operations following the COVID-19 pandemic, which shuttered all Osage Casinos for nearly two months starting in March 2020 after the first reported positive cases reached Oklahoma. The casinos reopened with COVID-19 precautions, including reduced capacities and heightened sanitation practices like with other impacted businesses.

“We have truly been honored by the phenomenal growth of our properties since reopening our doors,” Osage Casinos CEO Byron Bighorse said in a statement. “Because of our leadership’s fiscal responsibility and commitment to Osage Casinos, we are grateful to be able to support the Nation with distributions that far surpassed our expectations.”

The $9 million additional distribution announcement also comes following the two June 15 groundbreakings for new Osage Casino Hotel projects for Bartlesville and Pawhuska. Osage Casinos also recently completed construction of a second hotel tower at their Tulsa location. The second 141-room tower opened a limited number of rooms in late 2020 with the remaining rooms opening this year.

For each upcoming fiscal year, the ON Congress sets a projected revenue figure after receiving and considering reports on projected income sources for government operations including gaming revenue, Tax Commission income and other third-party sources. In addition to gaming oversight duties for the Nation, the gaming board approves an annual distribution, which is transferred to the government in monthly transactions. The $9 million will be in addition to the $46 million projected gaming revenue approved for government operations in the current 2021 fiscal year.

“These funds from Osage Casinos are critical to the services the Osage Nation provides our members, and I am pleased we are able to make this financial distribution,” GEB Chairman Mark J. Simms said in a statement. “There was a time when we were unsure how the lost revenues from closing our casinos could ever be made up. I commend Byron Bighorse, CEO Osage Casinos, and the entire staff for working hard to make up for lost time.”


Benny Polacca

Original Publish Date: 2021-07-02 00:00:00


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Benny Polacca
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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