Golden Mesa Casino receives full approval to move forward

Staff Writer

Staff report

After several months of waiting and no news, the Shawnee tribe and Global Gaming Solutions have received full approval to move forward with Golden Mesa Casino. Joined by U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Governor Mary Fallin, Shawnee Chief Ron Sparkman has signed the tribe’s fee-to-trust application for a gaming facility. The application was signed on Friday afternoon.
“Today is a historic day for the Shawnee Tribe. We are both honored and humbled,” Sparkman said. Thank you to the many people who have been steadfast in their commitment to this project for the past three years.”
Sparkman expressed thanks to Secretary Zinke and Governor Fallin for their assistance in completing this portion of the journey. He also expressed thanks to Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby.
“You and your capable team are the best partners ever. We respect your leadership and appreciate your integrity and compassion. You have presented our tribe an opportunity we could have never imagined,” Sparkman continued.
Sparkman also extended a word of gratitude to residents.
“To the many people on the Panhandle who have supported this project, we say thank you. As I have said before, we look forward with great anticipation to become a member of the Panhandle community. We look forward to working with civic leaders and citizens to build a better and stronger Panhandle,” Sparkman stated.
While the casino received approval from both the department of the interior and was signed by Governor Fallin in 2016, the application was placed in a hold and was reviewed after a new secretary of the interior was named under the Trump administration.
The Shawnee tribe and Global Gaming Solutions have plans to build a 60,000 square foot, high quality casino entertainment center on 107 acres southwest of Guymon. Named Golden Mesa Casino, the name was chosen to honor the natural beauty of the region. The casino will be the first of its kind to be build in the Oklahoma Panhandle region. It will be located approximately 2.5 miles on the south side of Highway 54, and is set to become a destination location and economic engine for the area. The casino is expected to feature approximately 600 electronic games and eight blackjack tables, as well as a restaurant and bar. The casino entertainment center has been designed to accommodate future expansion.
“We look forward to continuing a positive working relationship with Chief Ron Sparkman and the Shawnee tribe as we collaborate and expand economic development opportunities that benefit the Shawnee tribe and the state of Oklahoma,” Anoatubby said. “This project offers benefits to everyone involved by enhancing tourism, creating meaningful employment opportunities, and supporting Chief Sparkman’s vision of enhancing opportunities for citizens of the Shawnee tribe.”
The unique history of the Shawnee tribe places the tribe currently in what is the territory of another tribal government. Due to this, the tribe is limited in terms of land tenure and economic development. The tribe must look elsewhere for economic opportunities to enable it to achieve long-term sustainability of its culture and community. The Shawnee Act, enacted by the United States Congress in 2000, restored the tribe’s federal recognition and granted the tribe the right to secure land essential to its economic well-being as long as the land is outside the assigned lands of other tribes. Since the Oklahoma panhandle was not assigned to any other tribes, it has not benefitted from tribal economic development activities other Oklahoma communities have experienced.
“This approval marks a significant achievement for the Shawnee tribe, and we are pleased to now move forward on this important community economic development and regional entertainment project,” Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce and Chairman of Global Gaming Solutions Bill Lance said. “Global Gaming Solutions stands ready to work alongside the Shawnee tribe to ensure a successful project that provides positive returns for the tribe and economic results for the citizens in Guymon and the Oklahoma panhandle.”
The Golden Mesa Casino is expected to employ 175 people in full and part-time positions, generating a direct payroll contribution of nearly $3.7 million annually, with jobs including information technology, human resources, electronic games technicians, security officers, marketing, clerical, cashiers, and food and beverage staff. An additional 30 or more jobs will be created in the community as a result of this new business with expected payroll and sole proprietorship income generated totaling $1.25 million annually.
In revenues and taxes, the amount spent by the casino is expected to generate $2.1 million annually, with a multiplier effect increasing the total annual local expenditures to $4 million paid to Texas County businesses for goods and services. Increased sales tax remittance related to business generated by casino operations is expected to total $106,000 statewide and $56,000 locally.
In tourism, increases for the panhandle and Texas County are expected in additional traffic and business opportunities for nearby lodging, restaurants, fuel stops, retail establishments and more. Based on national gaming industry statistics, a casino should draw patrons from a maximum 100 mile radius of its location. Since the closest gaming facilities are 125 to 180 miles from Guymon, the new casino should attract patrons from an even broader than normal geographic area, resulting in longer patron stays and more spending in the local community.
The first phase of the project will result in the construction of a modest facility of approximately 42,000 square feet housing approximately 600 electronic games, 8 blackjack tables and a restaurant or bar. Future phases could include a total of 500 additional games, a hotel with a meeting space, and RV park, and possibly an entertainment venue. The construction phase will support or create 46 jobs and $2.1 million in wages and benefits. A date for the start of construction has not yet been announced, but the tribe stated on Facebook on Friday afternoon that they expect to move forward later this year.
The construction phase is also expected to include infrastructure improvements, including necessary enhancements to nearby roads or bridges, necessary enhancements or construction of water and sewer facilities, and development of partnership agreements with local authorities such as police, fire and emergency response.


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