Indian tribe wants to build casino in OKC

Monday, January 21st 2008, 10:33 pm
By: News 9

By Stacey Cameron, NEWS 9

The Shawnee Tribe is trying to build a multi-million dollar casino resort in Oklahoma City. Their plans are getting a lot of criticism.

The tribe would like to renovate the strip of land along Interstate 35 between Britton and Wilshire Roads.

Greg Pitcher is in charge of the Shawnee Tribe's economic development. He's trying to convince the city that Oklahoma City needs a casino.

Mayor Mick Cornett said his opinion hasn't changed since he was first asked the question two months ago.

"I don't think at this point I'm convinced that it's in the best interest to try and help them pursue," Cornett said.

Having to change the mayor's mind isn't the only obstacle facing the Shawnee Tribe. Right now the land is zoned for industrial use, not entertainment. So the city would have to rezone the property.

Also the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a federal agency, has to place the land in trust for a casino. There might be a loophole in the law because the Shawnee's weren't federally recognized as an indian tribe until 2000.

Even then, Governor Henry may still have to write off on the casino plan.

Despite those hurdles, the Shawnees will outline their casino resort plan on Wednesday.