Oklahoma attorney backs Broken Arrow tribal casino despite protests; Bonita Springs fights for slot machine referendum

TAGs: Bonita Springs, Broken Arrow;, Naples Fort Myers Greyhound Track, Oklahoma, The Red Clay Casino

Kialegee Tribal Naples Fort MyersThe struggle to build a new casino in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, continues as a number of residents, politicians and protesters do what they can to stop it.

The casino in question – The Red Clay Casino – is being developed by The Kialegee Tribal and out of state developers and is going ahead on its 20 acres of land because the tribe say it will help their tribal members.

However, not everyone sees the casino as bad for Broken Arrow. William Rice of the Native American Law Centre said in a report by News On 6 he believes it’s a win-win situation for all.

As a member of the United Keetoowah Band of the Cherokee Tribe, he added: “I sit there thinking, ‘We’ve got somebody that’s going to bring a business to town that’s going to employ four or five hundred people probably, create several million dollars of economic activity in town.’ It would seem to me that would be a win.”

Rice worries that the battle over the casino is sending the wrong message and says Indians have the same rights as any other American – “to develop their economies and live their own lives”.

Saying he’d like to see those opposing the casino work with the tribe to find ways to develop their economy instead of fighting against them, the attorney added: “There’s ways to turn this into a win for everyone. and I don’t understand why nobody is asking those questions, why nobody’s speaking that speech.”


Over in Florida, Bonita Springs is also fighting for a form of gambling in the city.

Despite the looming possibility of a lengthy legal battle, citizens are hoping to see a decision made before the end of the month to hold referendum, which could ensure slot machines are added to the gambling repertoire at the Naples Fort Myers Greyhound Track.

But the way things are looking, the process will consume the most of 2012 pushing the addition of slot machines at the track to next year.

Tuesday will be the day the commissioners will discuss the city’s plea for a referendum at the Lee County Commission meeting on Tuesday. According to a report by Naplesnews, the meeting could go two ways: Commissioners could agree on a referendum so residents can voice their thoughts on slot machines in a ballot on 6 November. Or, commissioners could simply wait to see what happens during the legislative session, which could take forever.

Bonita Springs lobbyists are pushing to allow slot machines in areas where gambling is already occurring. And since Lee County is permitted to make its own decision on slot machines because it’s a charter county, commissioners have the power to give citizens a referendum. But will they? Let’s hope they give the power to the people to make their own decision.

If expanding the track does go ahead, proponents have said it will bring new jobs and a decent tax revenue stream to the city.


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