Iowa Nation Casino Construction Delayed By Years

Iowa Nation Casino Construction Delayed By Years: Tribal Operators And Governor’s Office At Loggerheads

| November 22, 2023 | Last Updated on: May 14, 2024 | Casino News

Oklahoma’s Iowa Tribe has been putting in efforts to actually build a brand-new gaming destination from its humble Ioway Casino located on Route 66.

But their efforts have actually been delayed by several years due to some ongoing issues between the tribal operators of the state and the Governor’s office.

The tribe basically wants to work on building a relatively bigger casino on Route 66’s other side. Simultaneously, they also want to build an exit ramp leading directly to the casino off I-44. This will allow visitors to bypass a detour worth 5 miles while approaching the casino from the freeway.

Both the exit and the casino would actually be funded as well as built by the tribe. And that too on its sovereign reservation.

However, when the particular tribe actually asked for permission for undertaking the project years ago in 2019, the Governor’s office told them that they would have to sign a gaming compact with them.

Beef With The Governor’s Office:  

During this time, Kevin Stitt, the governor of Oklahoma, was attempting to rework the commercial bond between the tribal casino operators and the state.

The governor had argued that the gaming compact signed between the state and most of its tribes sometime in 2004 was about to expire when 2019 ended. As a result, he wanted a new compact to be signed between the state and its tribes, raising the revenue-share payments to 13% from 6%.

The tribes, on the other hand, argued how it was planned to roll over the gaming compact when 2019 ended with no new renegotiation. However, the Oklahoma Supreme Court eventually vindicated the tribes. Only 2 of the entire state’s 38 federally-recognized tribes have accepted and signed the gaming compact.

These two tribes are:

  1. Kialegee Tribal Town (KTT), and
  2. United Keetoowah Band (UKB).

Moreover, the Senate Joint Tribal Relations Committee also rejected the two gaming compacts. This is because there were certain concerns related to how the Senate Joint Tribal Relations

The committee would have to give both tribes a sort of ‘carte blanche’ for helping them open casinos in the most populous region of the state, that is, Oklahoma County.

‘Not A Relationship:’  

Still, Stitt is kinda eager to get some more money from the casino, leaving the project in Iowa in a mess.

Jacob Keyes, the Iowa Nation Chairman, spoke to KFOR, the local news station, on the occasion, “We were basically told that we couldn’t do that project for the exit without signing a new compact. Any ideas of gaming compacts [Stitt] presented are completely off the table for us. We have absolutely no interest in the structure of the compacts he’s put out there. It’s not good for our tribe or really any of the other tribes.”

Keyes also said that the “ability to negotiate with the governor on anything was not really there,” describing their relationship as “not a relationship at all really.”

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Barsha Bhattacharya
Barsha Bhattacharya

Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.


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