If you build it will they come? Otoe-Missouria Tribe announces hotel expansion, indoor water park
Because the gaming market in Oklahoma is increasingly competitive, the Red Rock-based Otoe-Missouria Tribe is looking for ways to diversify its offerings.
Its latest project is an expansion of the tribe’s 7Clans First Council Casino and Hotel in Newkirk that will transform it into an entertainment complex with activities for all age groups.
The planned expansion will almost double the hotel’s capacity by adding 60 family suite-style rooms, many with bunk beds, and will incorporate new restaurants, meeting space, an arcade and a 20,000 square foot indoor water park with three thrill rides, a lazy river, a children’s pool and a teen area.
Otoe-Missouria public information officer Heather Payne said the tribe is trying to expand its audience and make the First Council property a family-oriented resort similar to Great Wolf Lodge while continuing to offer gaming and a concert venue for adults.
It’s no coincidence the Otoe-Missouria Development Authority hired Chief Financial Officer John Lyden, formerly with Great Wolf Lodge, last summer. The tribe is counting on his experience and insight to make the project a success.
“This project is next phase in our plan to be the top entertainment destination in North Central Oklahoma,” Otoe-Missouria Chairman John R. Shotton said. “Building upon our outstanding gaming and hotel facilities as well as our unique concert venue, we look forward to offering even more entertainment options to our patrons and their families. The expansion will provide a family entertainment experience unlike any other in our region.”
It’s a way to stay ahead of an increasingly saturated gaming market and competition from casinos like the Kansas Star, located just south of Wichita, Payne said.
She says the tribe wants to set the Newkirk property up with all the amenities its guests could need because it is slightly off the beaten path, about 20 minutes east of I-35 and about 10 minutes north of Newkirk.
It needs to be a destination in itself.
7Clans Casino CEO Bruce Barnett believes the water park creates a unique opportunity for 7Clans First Council Casino and Hotel.
“Having the indoor water park adds year-round entertainment value for the entire family and will be a differentiator for our property,” he said.
Although casinos in Oklahoma continue to see growth in their revenue year after year, many tribes are adding other forms of entertainment to their facilities, Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Executive Director Sheila Morago said. It’s something that seems to happen naturally as gaming markets mature.
It’s also a way for tribes whose casinos who don’t have the advantage of being located on a major highway to attract visitors.
In addition to water parks, tribes are adding amenities like movie theaters, arcades and bowling alleys that add value to the casino and to the surrounding community, Morago said. There is a ripple effect for those who live nearby.
Some tribes are even working together to create a critical mass of entertainment complexes near each other to draw more visitors, she said.
The Otoe-Missouria Tribe expects to have the project complete and open for business by the end of December 2018.
The expansion will create about 70 jobs.
Source: Stillwater Newspress