ssistant Secretary-Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Tara Katuk Sweeney, on October 15 announced the approval of two fee-to-trust applications submitted by The Chickasaw Nation for casino resorts in and near the Oklahoma cities of Ardmore and Kingston, respectively.
“In reviewing the Chickasaw Nation’s applications, I determined that the transfer of these parcels into trust for gaming purposes would promote its long-term economic development and self-sufficiency, self-determination, and self-governance,” Sweeney said.
Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce Bill Lance said the tribe was appreciative of Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s and Sweeney’s leadership and consideration of the two projects – dubbed Lake Murray and Lake Texoma by the tribe.
“The Chickasaw Nation may now proceed to the next phase of development on these important regional tourism and entertainment projects, which are projected to create approximately 200 new jobs at the Lake Murray location and 175 jobs at the Lake Texoma location,” Lance said. “Studies conducted on behalf of the Chickasaw Nation estimate a combined economic impact, including construction, of $160 million in the first year, and a combined five-year economic impact of $783 million. We look forward to the tremendous positive impacts these projects will have on our Chickasaw citizens and surrounding communities for many years to come.”
In 2016, the tribe submitted applications to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to transfer into trust approximately 248.09 acres of land known as the Ardmore tract in Ardmore in Carter County and two parcels totaling approximately 61.63 acres known as the Kingston property near Kingston in Marshall County for gaming and other purposes. The tribe plans on constructing casino resorts at both sites.
The estimated economic impact on the regional economy in year one from this project is estimated to be $102.3 million, according to the BIA. And economic output from initial construction is expected to be $44.2 million.
The BIA also stated that the total impact on regional economic output from the Ardmore project’s annual revenue is expected to be $57 million. BIA officials also said construction and operation of the Ardmore project will generate temporary and ongoing employment opportunities and wages that would be primarily filled by the available labor force in the city of Ardmore and surrounding communities in Carter County.
The project is expected to create 213 jobs. Of those, 128 will be new jobs, and 85 will be filled by employees expected to transfer from other Chickasaw facilities. In addition, the project will create 78 indirect and induced positions at other businesses, resulting in the creation of 206 new direct and indirect jobs.
The BIA also reported that total construction costs for the Kingston project are estimated to be $19.4 million, with a total impact on regional economic output from initial construction estimated at $34.3 million.
Moreover, annual revenue from the operations of the Kingston project is estimated at $15.8 million with a total impact on regional economic output from the development’s annual revenue estimated at $22.8 million. According to the BIA, operation of the Kingston project would generate 174 new full-time employment positions, with 108 jobs being a direct result of the proposed project, while the remaining 66 consist of indirect and induced employment opportunities.