Seneca-Cayuga tribe plans lakefront casino in Grove 5-3-07

GROVE, Okla. (AP) - The Seneca-Cayuga tribe plans to build one of the largest casinos in the state on Grand Lake.

The Miami, Okla.-based tribe outlined plans for the 100,000-square-foot Grand Lake Casino and Resort during a standing-room only Grove City Council meeting Tuesday night. The casino will be built on 30 acres west of U.S. 59.

It initially will employ about 450 people and have about 1,000 gaming machines, Seneca-Cayuga Chief Paul Spicer said.

Plans also include a five-story hotel with 125 rooms, a convention center, and three restaurants, Spicer said.

“This will be a first-class facility, unlike any other casino in the area,” he said. “It will be like the Cherokee Casino in Catoosa.”

The Cherokee facility has about 95,000 square feet, with plans to more than triple its space.

In a written statement to councilors, the Seneca-Cayuga tribe said the Grand Lake facility would “generously boost the economy of Grove and surrounding areas.”

Instead of paying taxes to the city, the tribe would make voluntary donations and contribute to other community causes, the statement said.

The tribe, which owns the land, does not need the city's permission to establish a casino, and city officials made no public comment.

But some tribe members said during the meeting that proper notification of the casino was not given to all members of the tribe. They also said land for the casino was not properly placed in trust under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

Spicer said Wednesday that “the concerns by the tribal members were not legitimately based. The land is a part of our original allotment; we have jurisdiction over that land. If we weren't confident of our position, we wouldn't move forward on this.”

The tribe plans to begin building the casino this summer, with its opening planned next summer.