Osage Nation officials and casino management dug shovels into dirt this week to break ground on another expansion to the Tribe’s flagship resort property in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A second hotel tower featuring 145 guest rooms will be added to Osage Casino Hotel to meet strong patron demand.
The $28 million expansion comes on the heel’s of the 2018 completion of phase one of a $160 million renovation that created 141 new hotel rooms — which sell out every weekend according to Osage Casinos CEO Byron Bighorse. Included in last year’s overhaul of the entertainment destination were the addition of banquet rooms, a Skyline Event Center — a 45,000-square-foot venue that can hold up to 2,000 people, a swimming pool, gaming floor upgrades, and the introduction of Nine Band Brewing Co., a full-service brewery.
“The minute that we opened this property, I saw an issue right away and that was we didn’t build enough hotel rooms to begin with,” said Bighorse, reported the Tulsa World.
The new six-story tower will accept reservations starting in August 2020, opening inroads for more tourism to the state that attracted more than 21 million people in 2017. Those visitors spent a record $8.9 billion in Oklahoma that year, according to the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation’s most recent statistics.
The Osage Nation’s casino expansion news was somewhat eclipsed by news of Oklahoma’s Governor publishing an op-ed Monday in the Tulsa World, asserting that Oklahoma should renegotiate for a more substantial share of the billions of dollars that Tribal casinos generate each year. Read more: “Okla. Governor Wants Bigger Cut of State’s Tribal Gaming Revenue.”