Shawnee Tribe touts approval of off-reservation casino in Oklahoma

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

The Shawnee Tribe says it has won approval of an off-reservation casino in Oklahoma.

In a statement to The Guymon Herald, Chief Ron Sparkman did not say when the decision was made and whether it was by the new Trump administration or the Obama administration. The Bureau of Indian Affairs had published an environmental assessment in November that recommended approval of the Golden Mesa Casino.

"We applaud the Bureau for conducting a deliberate and open process in which they determined putting the land into trust would be positive for the Shawnee Tribe and the Panhandle community," Sparkman said in the statement to the paper.

The tribe is pursuing the $25 million development under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The law requires the state governor to approve the project.

Two-part determinations are rare. Since IGRA became law in 1988, only four tribes -- including the Kaw Nation in Oklahoma -- have opened casinos after completing both steps of the process.

Three additional approvals came during the Obama administration but the Enterprise Rancheria and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians are still facing legal and political challenges to their projects in California. The last approval was for the Spokane Tribe in Washington, whose leaders have broken ground on the casino but it's not yet operational.

Read More on the Story:
Golden Mesa Casino receives approval on application by Secretary of the Interior (The Guymon Daily Herald 2/2)

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