Osage Nation of Oklahoma announces plans to build casino in Lake of the Ozarks region

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 6:37 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 29, 2021 at 8:34 PM CDT
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LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. (KY3) - The Osage Nation of Oklahoma announced plans Friday to build a casino and entertainment complex in the Lake of the Ozarks region.

Plans call for the development of a new entertainment district at the Lake of the Ozarks, including a new hotel complex that will feature a casino, restaurants and live entertainment, according to a news release Friday from the Osage Nation of Oklahoma.

“We have established very good relationships with several communities in Missouri and seek to have a presence back in our homeland,” Osage Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said.

The Chief of the Osage says the $60-million project will be done in phases, though the exact location or timetable for construction has not yet been announced.

Missouri state lawmakers near the Lake of the Ozarks say they will seek the general assembly’s support to make it happen.

“I am happy the Osage Nation is exploring economic development opportunities in their ancestral homeland,” said State Senator Mike Bernskoetter (R- Jefferson City). “It sounds like a promising opportunity to bring jobs to Missouri and I am looking forward to working with the Osage Nation as this project develops.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Lake Region and our entire state,” State Senator Justin Brown (R-Rolla). “I look forward to working with the Osage Nation, community leaders, and my colleagues in the Legislature to make this a reality and welcome the Nation home.”

According to Missouri constitutional law, riverboat gambling is allowed on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers for boats in artificial moats or approved sites within 1000 feet of the of Mississippi River or Missouri River.

Recent changes in Missouri state law would allow the Missouri Gaming Commission to approve a casino facility that is built as a standard building as long as it includes a container with at least 2,000 gallons of Mississippi River or Missouri River water beneath the facility.

The change in the law allows for casinos to convert to non-floating facilities, something that up until now was only the allowance of floating facilities.

Prior to Friday’s announcement, Osage tribal leaders were looking at locations along Interstate 44. There are currently tribal casinos in 30 states nationally.

According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development Division of Tourism, tourism in Miller County, where the project is expected be located, currently generates approximately $40.7 million and 682 jobs annually to the overall impact of tourism in the state. Next door in Camden County, tourism is responsible for $187.45 million and 3,958 jobs.

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