The Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma recently broke ground on its latest gambling venture located in the small town of Terral in Jefferson County.
The $10 million casino is being built on land situated less than two miles from the border with Texas that was placed into trust by the Obama administration on January 19, 2017.
The Lone Star State is considered an important gaming market, as it does not permit Vegas-style or Class III gaming, with the exception of the Lucky Eagle Casino, which is operated by the federally recognized Kickapoo Tribe and situated near the state’s international border with Mexico.
The town’s mayor, Vicente Villarreal, told local news station KFDX, “We’re hoping they’ll bring business in town and they’ll be employees hired from not only from here but from other towns as well.” Villarreal reportedly said that the Chickasaw Nation approached him and other trustees for consent to build a casino.
The 36,000 square foot facility is expected to be completed early next year and will reportedly include over 600 electronic gaming machines, six table games, a retail shop, and restaurant. According to a Chickasaw Nation PR firm, the casino is reportedly estimated to bring 150 new jobs to the community and upwards of $3 million in annual payroll.
The casino has yet to be formally named by the Chickasaw Nation.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) generally prohibits casinos from being built on land placed in trust after October 17, 1988; however, an exception in Section 20 of the federal law allows gaming on properties that are located within the boundaries of what was once a reservation in the state. According to indianz.com, the Oklahoma tribe has repeatedly qualified for the exception, enabling it to grow its gaming empire expeditiously. In 2003, the tribe reportedly had more than 10 facilities on newly acquired lands and now owns and operates more casinos than any other in Oklahoma or the United States.
About one-quarter of the nearly 500 Native American casinos in the United States is located in the state of Oklahoma, which is second only to California for Indian casino revenue.
The Chickasaw Nation claims that its WinStar World Casino in Thackerville is the world’s largest casino; with over 600,000 square feet of gaming floor, 7,400 electronic games, and nearly 100 tables, it is without a doubt the largest in the Sooner State.