The Chickasaw Nation expanded its gaming portfolio this week in its home state of Oklahoma with the tribe’s 16th casino in the Sooner State.
Already one of the nation’s richest gaming tribes, the Chickasaws in early 2020 announced its plans to develop a tribal casino and resort. The venue is located on about 50 acres of lakefront property overlooking Lake Texoma in southern Oklahoma.
Lake Texoma is one of the largest water reservoirs in the United States. The facility, managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, has a water surface area of about 89K acres, and holds more than 2.5 million acre-feet of water. Each acre-foot of water equals about 326K gallons.
Dubbed the West Bay Casino & Resort, the Chickasaws’ newest casino replaces the former Texoma State Lodge, which was demolished in 2009. The tribe acquired the property in 2016 after the developers who bought the Texoma Lodge from the state failed to deliver on their promise to build a $750 million resort on the parkland.
West Bay Casino & Resort opened Tuesday afternoon following a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The small casino, which spans only about 10,000 square feet, features 275 slot machines and several blackjack and roulette tables. The property additionally includes a 40-room hotel, 10 lakeside cabins, meeting space, and a restaurant and bar.
Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby said the tribe’s investment in Lake Texoma, which wasn’t detailed publicly, is partially a sentimental one. Anoatubby explained that he remembers visiting Lake Texoma during his younger years. The Texoma State Lodge was one of the few facilities in the area capable of hosting large events, the tribal leader said.
A lot of the events that we had were at the Lake Texoma Lodge. It was the only facility around that had enough room to do the kind of things that we did … high school proms, meetings, all kinds of things,” Anoatubby told the media at the ribbon-cutting.
Tribal officials said West Bay resulted in more than 170 new hires. The tribe expects the casino and resort to produce an immediate annual economic impact of around $58 million. That number is projected to grow to nearly $170 million a year by 2029.
Lake Texoma is a popular recreational destination with its vast parklands and water offerings. Lake Texoma is in close proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth, with the Texas metro home to more than 5.7 million people roughly about an hour’s drive away.
West Bay might be partially a sentimental play for the Chickasaws.B ut it certainly helps further secure the tribe’s presence on Oklahoma’s southern border with Texas.
West Bay occupies 61 acres near the Catfish Bay Marina. West Bay is about 30 air miles east of Thackerville, where the Chickasaws own and operate one of the largest casinos in the world.
WinStar World Casino and Resort, the Chickasaws’ flagship casino and the tribe’s most critical economic asset, features nine casino venues known as “plazas.” Each plaza has a distinct theme, from Beijing to Rome to Paris to New York.
More than 10,000 slot machines and 100 table games are spread across the casino venues. The resort compound also has 19 restaurants and bars, retail shopping, an 18-hole golf course, and a theater with a capacity for 6,500 audience members.
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