NORMAN — Leaders of the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations expressed differing sentiments as they discussed the future of gaming during a recent tribal meeting in Norman.
The two tribes, whose treaty borders make them neighbors in southeastern Oklahoma, often issue statements jointly on key issues. They are listed as co-plaintiffs in a water rights lawsuit filed against the state of Oklahoma in federal court.
And they both have become extraordinarily wealthy because of gaming and their proximity to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
But during a recent intertribal council meeting — held at the state-of-the-art, Chickasaw-owned Riverwind Casino in Norman — leaders representing the two tribes have very different things about the role of gaming in the future.
Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, whose tribe has the largest gaming empire in Oklahoma, told the audience at the meeting that the tribe was adding a third tower at the hotel next to WinStar World Casino, the state's largest gaming facility.
Anoatubby said one tower already is open and a second one is under construction. Once completed, the WinStar hotel will have more than 1,000 rooms.
“We wouldn't just decide to build it unless there's a reason,” the governor said. “We have a market ... the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex ... that continues to grow, and we've just barely tapped into that market.
“Our studies show we need more rooms.”
Anoatubby said gaming has allowed the Chickasaw, Choctaw and other tribes to flourish in recent years, changing their relationship with Bureau of Indian Affairs.
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