The Creek Nation River Spirit Casino at 81st and Riverside
Gambling is not legal in the state of Oklahoma. However, beginning in the late 1970s a series of decisions by the United States Supreme Court ruled that Indian tribes have limited sovereignty over tribal lands and may license gambling within their jurisdiction. Since then Tribal gambling has rapidly grown into the billions of dollars across the country.
The land between Riverside Drive and the Arkansas River beginning just north of 81st street and running south for nearly a quarter mile belongs to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and has become the site of a very large Casino complex. It began as Creek Nation Bingo in 1984 and has evolved to a Casino that rivals those found in Reno or Las Vegas.
Although Sue and I have never been in the casino we drive by it many times a week as it is on the way both to our church and the Walmart. It seems like every time we drive by it has grown a little more. Tonight I stopped on the way home from choir practice to take a picture of it all lit up with colored lights.
Oklahoma’s 29 gaming tribes contributed nearly $106 million to the state of Oklahoma in fiscal year 2009, according to the Office of State Finance. That figure was about $81 million the previous year. Most of that money goes to education, but $250,000 is set aside each year for problem gambling assistance through the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service.
Wikipedia has a good article on the evolution of Native American gambling enterprises HERE. The Creek Nation has a website for the casino HERE.