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MIAMI, OK - The Shawnee Tribe has taken initial steps towards
building a $400 million casino in the Oklahoma City area. The location would be
104 acres the tribe bought along Interstate 35 between Britton Road and Wilshire
Boulevard. It is about 3 miles north of Remington Park, a horse racetrack whose
owners have already voiced strong objections to the plan.
Last week the tribe submitted their application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place the land into federal trust. Approval can take 18 months or more.
Earlier this month the BIA announced new guidelines for approval that include
the distance from the casino to the tribe's reservation. The bureau wants tribal
members to work at the casino with a reasonable commuting distance that does not
require them to relocate closer to the casino. The Shawnee Tribe is based in
Miami, OK, about 185 miles away, so this may be a factor in their decision.
Another factor is consent from the Cherokee Nation. The federal legislation that restored the Shawnee as a tribe requires consent of the Cherokee Nation to place land in trust anywhere within the Cherokee Nation's area of northeast Oklahoma. Cherokee consent is unlikely.
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