Shawnee Tribe waits for answer on off-reservation casino project

Artist's rendering of the proposed Golden Mesa Casino in Guymon, Oklahoma. Image: Shawnee Tribe Environmental Assessment

A change in administration could affect an off-reservation casino proposed by the Shawnee Tribe.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs published an environmental assessment in November and held a public meeting on the tribe's plan for the Golden Mesa Casino earlier this month. But a decision wasn't made before the end of the Obama administration.

That leaves the matter in the hands of Republican President Donald Trump, who hasn't said anything about Indian Country since taking office on January 20. His nominee to lead the Interior Department, which oversees the BIA, is Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Montana), who has expressed favorable views on tribal sovereignty and self-determination but doesn't have much of a record on tribal gaming.

But even if the BIA approves the project, that isn't the final word. The tribe is pursuing the casino under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which means the state governor must agree with the decision.

The casino has drawn opposition from some in Guymon, a city in the Oklahoma Panhandle that's more than 400 miles from tribal headquarters. Former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) doesn't think the tribe should be able to open an off-reservation casino, The Tulsa Beacon reported.

Read More on the Story:
Coburn opposes Guymon casino (The Tulsa Beacon 1/26)
Public divided on plans for Guymon Casino (KFOA 1/24)

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