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New casino set for opening in February


BARTLESVILLE, Okla. (AP) - The Osage Nation is planning to open an $8 million casino west of Bartlesville in mid-February.

''Bartlesville has a strong tourism market, and we are hoping to capitalize on that,'' said Pam Shaw, Osage Nation marketing manager. ''We hope to add to that with what we will offer.''

Tribal officials said recent feasibility studies have shown that they can attract a willing gaming audience from Kansas, including Independence and Coffeyville.

The 42,000-square-foot casino on about 40 acres of land will be decorated with a mountain lodge theme to complement the nearby Woolaroc museum. The land is private trust property of some of the tribe's citizens.

''Gaming is a means to an end for the Osage Tribe,'' said Osage Chief Jim Gray. ''Our future doesn't rise and fall on gaming, but we need gaming to help us reach our goals.''

The tribe operates casinos in Tulsa, Sand Springs, Pawhuska and Hominy.

The casino will include a buffet, bar and patio, about 600 gaming machines, table games and parking for 700 vehicles. Long-range plans include the addition of a hotel to complete the lodge theme, Shaw said.

The Osage Million Dollar Elm Casino Bartlesville will overlook a nearby horse refuge.

Because of the facility's remote location, the tribe is working with Washington County officials on additional road improvements, including repaving and widening, said Phil Glass, chief gaming operations officer.

The facility is designed by TDC Oklahoma, a subsidiary of the Dawes Corp. of Las Vegas. The firm has designed other gaming sites for the tribe.