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Gaming Enterprise Board reports $100,000 in donations to seven Lake of Ozarks community events

In June 2021, the Nation purchased 28 acres near the city of Lake Ozark in Miller County

In October, the Osage Nation Gaming Enterprise Board reported $100,000 in donations to seven Missouri-based entities as efforts continue to establish an Osage Casino & Hotel property near the Lake of the Ozarks.

On Oct. 26, GEB Chair Geoff Hager wrote to Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear reporting the donations to the Central Missouri entities as part of establishing community relationships and rapport with the region. The letter comes one month after the Eighth ON Congress approved resolution ONCR 22-12 during the 2022 Tzi Sho Session requesting the Nation-owned land parcel be placed in federal trust status.

In June 2021, the Nation purchased 28 acres near the city of Lake Ozark in Miller County. For a tribe to build a casino, the land must be in trust status with the federal government and a gaming compact must be in place with the state of Missouri.

“All donations have been made for goodwill and community support in Lake of the Ozarks,” Hager said in his letter also sent to the ON Congress and Osage News.

The gaming board reported the following seven donations, which are all dated Oct. 20:

  • Lake of the Ozark Police Department: $25,000
  • Miller County Sheriff’s Department: $25,000
  • Lake Ozark Fire Department: $25,000
  • Lake Ozark Soccer Association: $5,500
  • Lake Area Youth Robotics: $3,000
  • Osage Football League, Inc.: $5,500
  • Community Foundation of the Ozarks: $11,000

The Nation announced its Entertainment District project for the Lake of the Ozarks region last year and earlier this year released graphic renderings of the project expected to be completed in multiple phases with an estimated $60 million investment in the region, bringing new jobs, tourism and revenue for the Lake of the Ozarks community. Phase 1 includes construction of a casino, sports bar, restaurant, and meeting space. Additionally, it also includes a hotel, which will have general hotel rooms, suites, a fitness and exercise facility, a pool and hot tub, and a pool bar.

Phase 1 construction is expected to start upon approval from the United States Department of Interior. A timeline for the land into trust process is unknown and can take two-plus years.

Also earlier this year, the Nation held a liquidation sale of items at a former hotel that stood on the property that was demolished with the proceeds donated to two area nonprofits. That event raised more than $60,000, which was split and donated to Kids’ Harbor Child Advocacy Center and Citizens Against Domestic Violence (CADV).


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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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