Shawnee Tribe to build casino along Interstate 35

Thursday, April 10th 2008, 12:08 am
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

The general manager of Oklahoma City's only casino said he's ready to do everything he can to stop an Indian tribe's plans to build a gambling resort along Interstate 35.

Just two weeks ago this rasino began featuring professional boxing matches every week. Ironically, the man in charge is also in the middle of his own fight and he's got a blunt message to those who are trying to move in next door.

The Shawnee Tribe wants to build a $400 million entertainment resort and casino near Remington Park along I-35.

"It's a very, very grim future for the future of this facility should that occur," Remington Park General Manager, Scott Wells said.

In the coming weeks and months, Wells will be visiting with a number of local, state and federal authorities and elected leaders all in an effort to convince them that the Shawnee Tribe's plans are unfair and violate a law that states where casinos can and cannot be in Oklahoma.

"Most legislators and elected officials are well aware that this is not what Oklahomans voted on in November 2004," Wells said.

The Shawnee Development group has argued by saying their facility would bring more people into the Adventure District. But others don't see it that way.

The Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association said if Remington Park folds - so will the horse racing industry in the state.

"Another blow to Remington Park and I'm afraid this would be a go-cart track, or something other than a race horsing facility," Phillip Stewart with the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association said.

Later this week the chairman of the Shawnee Development group will be back in Oklahoma City and has agreed to talk with NEWS 9 about what it is his group is doing to promote what he calls 'the good' that this project will bring to the metro.

The Shawnee Tribe is waiting for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to agree to put the land along I-35 into trust before they can build the casino. It could be up to three years before that happens.