Tribe breaks ground on new Tahlequah casino

03/28/2018 04:00 PM
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Cherokee Nation dignitaries break ground on March 26 for a new Cherokee Casino Tahlequah, which is expected to bring more entertainment, dining and convention options to the area. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation broke ground on March 26 on its new Cherokee Casino Tahlequah, which is expected to bring more entertainment, dining and convention options to the area.

“We believe in making sound investments that have a lasting impact on the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee people,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “This new property will be a regional attraction for tourism and economic development and is a complement to the work happening at Cherokee Springs Plaza and all over the Tahlequah area.”

According to CN Communications, the 92,000-square-foot entertainment destination will feature 525 electronic games, a 144-seat restaurant, a grab-and-go cafe, a live music venue, a full-service bar and complimentary nonalcoholic beverages.

The property includes 33,000 square feet of convention and meeting space that accommodates up to 1,000 people.

“We’ve taken one of the largest tracts in Tahlequah’s main corridor and are using it to grow the economy and create jobs,” Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Shawn Slaton said. “We’ve attracted new restaurants and businesses and are now bringing first-class entertainment options to Cherokee Springs Plaza. We know this casino and economic development endeavor will have a lasting impact on the Cherokee Nation and the entire region.”

According to CN Communications, the current Cherokee Casino Tahlequah near Sequoyah Schools, which is located about 3 miles west of Cherokee Springs Plaza, employs 174 people. A tribal press release states that nearly 220 will be employed at the expanded property, which should create a new market for meetings, conventions, banquets and other gatherings, bringing new people and investment to Cherokee County.

The release also states that construction on the new casino and convention center is expected to take less than a year. The current Cherokee Casino will be donated to the CN’s Cherokee Immersion Charter School to help expand and grow language programs for the tribe’s youth.

The CN broke ground on Cherokee Springs Plaza in 2014. The 154-acre retail, dining and entertainment development is next to Cherokee Springs Golf Course, the tribe’s 18-hole golf course. The plaza has since become home to a new auto dealership, the area’s first Taco Bueno, a Buffalo Wild Wings and a second Sonic Drive-In location.

The release states that nearly 30,000 cars pass by Cherokee Springs Plaza daily, which is halfway between the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex and Northeastern State University. About 3,500 CN employees work in Cherokee County, and more than 9,000 students are enrolled at NSU, the release states.

For more information on Cherokee Springs Plaza, including leasing opportunities, visit

Cherokee Nation Entertainment is the wholly owned gaming, hospitality, retail and tourism entity of the CN. The company currently operates Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa; nine Cherokee Casinos, including a horse racing track; three hotels; three golf courses; and other retail operations.

The tribe and its businesses currently employ more than 11,000 people and have a $2.03 billion economic impact on the state, the release states.

For more information about Cherokee Casino, visit


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