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Osage Casinos releases proposed renderings for Missouri property

Although the venture could take years to gain federal approval, Lake of the Ozarks property could feature casino and hotel

Officials with Osage Casinos released renderings and details of a planned new casino and hotel property in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri on Feb. 16.

The new property is part of a new entertainment district in Missouri announced last fall by the Osage Nation. The project is 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, according to a prepared release.

“We look forward to collaborative work with the local community and state of Missouri,” said Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, who is traveling in Missouri this week. “We will provide positive economic benefits to the Osage people, as well as those who reside on Osage ancestral lands.”

Historically, the Osage Nation once thrived in Missouri with a population of as many as 200,000 members of the Osage Nation at its height.

The planned property includes a casino, hotel, meeting space and event center, among other amenities.

“We are thrilled to release these renderings to Osage Nation members in a time when Chief Standing Bear is conducting monumental cultural efforts in our ancestral lands,” said Byron Bighorse, CEO of Osage Casinos. “Our casino has been nationally recognized for providing world-class gaming, and we are excited to bring this opportunity to Lake of the Ozarks.”

According to the release, Phase 1 of the process 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 Department of Interior.

The Nation sought proposals for qualified demolition contractors earlier this month to demolish and remove the vacant motel and other buildings currently on the property. Located at the intersection of Osage Beach Parkway and Bagnell Dam Boulevard, the property is not far from the lake shoreline.

Obtaining approval for a gaming establishment in Missouri could be a 2-to-5-year process. In part because land purchased for gaming purposes must go through the lengthy fee-to-trust process. There are also federal environmental and jurisdictional issues to address.

“We will have an estimate on the timing of the [fee-to-trust] application after the demolition of the existing structures on the land and attainment of the environmental assessment is complete,” Standing Bear said.

There is also the issue of a gaming compact with the state of Missouri. If the land is put into trust the Nation will have to negotiate the compact with the Missouri governor. Then, that compact must pass through the Missouri legislature, be signed by the governor and then the Secretary of the Interior. If the Nation is successful, it would own the first casino in Lake of the Ozarks and be the 14th casino in the state of Missouri.


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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Duty is the editor of the Osage News. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a master's degree in Legal Studies, Indigenous Peoples Law from the OU College of Law. She served on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) from 2013-2016 and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee from 2017-2020. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive the Elias Boudinot Free Press Award, NAJA’s highest honor. An Osage tribal member, she and her family are from the Grayhorse District. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and six children.

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