The $80 million Cherokee Casino and Hotel in Roland opened doors for gamers and the hungry on Tuesday, and a formal grand opening will be held later in the summer, officials said. The new casino offers 850 electronic games, table games and a poker room, along with a Las Vegas style buffet and the Grab-and-Go Cafe'. The hotel will feature 120 rooms and convention spaces. The enlarged casino also adds 100 jobs to the area economy, and replaces the older casino that opened in 1990.
The Cherokee Casino in Roland is just one of the tribe's business enterprises that have a $1.55 billion impact on the state's economy, according to a report by Dr. Russell Evans of Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University. That's up nearly 50 percent since the 2011 economic impact report, also done by Evans. The report indicates Cherokee Nation and its businesses have expanded their economic footprint by creating jobs, expanding operations and providing services to the Cherokee people.
The study showed Cherokee Nation either directly or indirectly supports more than 15,600 jobs and $645 million in wages throughout northeast Oklahoma. The tribe's direct economic activities provided employment opportunities to more than 10,000 people, including contract workers, and its operations and activities are valued at $1.2 billion.
The tribe's business and field offices are spread throughout the tribe's jurisdiction, which covers all or part of 14 counties in northeast Oklahoma, including all of Sequoyah County. During 2014, the fiscal year studied by the economists, the tribe began a major overhaul of its health care system, investing $100 million to provide better facilities and improved access for citizens. New health centers in Ochelata and Jay and expanded facilities in Stilwell and Sallisaw are nearly complete.
Also factoring into the increased impact was an upstart in new home construction. The tribe began building homes again for its citizens in 2012, the first new home construction program by the tribe in more than a decade. Along with the growth in housing, the tribe also added field sites for career services and tag offices throughout the Cherokee Nation.
In 2014, the tribe's businesses generated record revenues. In fiscal year 2014, Cherokee Nation Businesses generated more than $829 million.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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