“We believe in making sound investments that have a lasting impact on the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee people,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “This new Casino Tahlequah will be a regional attraction for tourism and economic development and is a complement to the work happening at Cherokee Springs Plaza and all over the Tahlequah area.”
The 92,000-square-foot entertainment destination will feature 525 electronic games, a 144-seat restaurant, a grab-and-go cafe, a live music venue, a full-service bar and complimentary nonalcoholic beverages.The property includes 33,000 square feet of convention and meeting space that accommodates up to 1,000 people.
“We’ve taken one of the largest tracts in Tahlequah’s main corridor and are using it to grow the economy and create jobs,” said Shawn Slaton, CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses. “We’ve attracted new restaurants and businesses and are now bringing first-class entertainment options to Cherokee Springs Plaza. We know this casino and economic development endeavor will have a lasting impact on the Cherokee Nation and the entire region.”
Cherokee Nation was joined by members of the Tahlequah community to celebrate the ground breaking of the new Cherokee Casino Tahlequah on Monday.
Cherokee Casino Tahlequah currently employs 174 people. Nearly 220 will be employed at the expanded property, which should create a new market for meetings, conventions, banquets and other gatherings, bringing new people and investment to Cherokee County.
Construction on the new casino and convention center is expected to take less than a year. The current Cherokee Casino, located a few miles south of Tahlequah near Sequoyah Schools, will be donated to the Cherokee Nation’s Cherokee Immersion Charter School to help expand and grow language programs for the tribe’s youth.
Cherokee Nation broke ground on Cherokee Springs Plaza in 2014. The 154-acre retail, dining and entertainment development is next to Cherokee Springs Golf Course, the tribe’s 18-hole golf course. The plaza has since become home to a new auto dealership, the area’s first Taco Bueno, a Buffalo Wild Wings and a second Sonic Drive-In location.
Nearly 30,000 cars pass by Cherokee Springs Plaza daily, which is halfway between the Cherokee Nation’s W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex and Northeastern State University. About 3,500 Cherokee Nation employees work in Cherokee County, and more than 9,000 students are enrolled at NSU.
Cherokee Nation Entertainment is the wholly owned gaming, hospitality, retail and tourism entity of the Cherokee Nation. The company currently operates Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa; nine Cherokee Casinos, including a horse racing track; three hotels; three golf courses; and other retail operations. The tribe and its businesses currently employ more than 11,000 people and have a $2.03 billion economic impact on the state of Oklahoma.