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17 Oklahoma Casinos with Interesting Names

By Kory Walker in Casino
| December 6, 2016 12:00 am PDT
Oklahoma State Casinos

Forget Reno and Atlantic City. Oklahoma City is the new Las Vegas. Although there are nearly 500 Native American casinos in the United States, about one quarter of them are located in Oklahoma, many of those near Oklahoma City. Compare that with Nevada’s 265 casinos. Colorado comes in a distant third with just over 40 commercial (non-tribal) casinos.

In 2015 the State of Oklahoma took in over $128 million in licensing fees from its Native American casinos. The Winstar World Casino and Resort claims to be the world’s largest casino, boasting over 600,000 square feet of floor space and over 7,000 slot machines. The Venetian Macao mountaintop resort claims over 10,000,000 square feet in floor space but most of that is taken up by non-gambling facilities. The Venetian Macao claims to have fewer than 4,000 slot machines.

The Oklahoma Gaming Compliance Unit reports that in 2015 the 114 Native American casinos in the state reported combined revenues of $2.1 billion. The Exclusivity Fees are assessed by tribe and according to a sliding scale of their revenues. The tribal revenues are reported but they are not broken out by casino in the state’s annual report. By comparison, Nevada reports over $10 billion in casino revenues, and both Pennsylvania and New Jersey report over $3 billion in casino revenues.

About 13.3% of Oklahoma’s annual Exclusivity Fees are assessed on the tribes’ net wins from table games. The remaining approximately 86.7% of the fees are assessed on the tribes’ net wins from slot machines. We can guess which casino is earning the most money, however, because the Chickasaw Nation pays the largest Exclusivity Fees (over $45 million in 2015). The Winstar World Casino and Resort is of course owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, although the tribe owns 18 casinos, 2 bingo halls, and a racetrack.

The National Indian Gaming Commission has divided the US into 7 administrative regions. Curiously, Oklahoma is home to two of these administrative units: the Oklahoma City Region and the Tulsa Region. However most of these casinos lie within 2 hours’ drive of Oklahoma City. Technically there is only one casino inside Oklahoma City itself, and that is the Remington Park Racetrack and Casino, which is owned by the Chickasaw Nation through Global Gaming Solutions, LLC (or Global Gaming RP).

To obtain a full list of Oklahoma casinos you can download a PDF file from the NIGC that lists every Native American casino. You can find lists of Oklahoma casinos on a few unrelated Websites but they all appear to be outdated or arbitrarily incomplete. The NIGC updates its list of operational casinos every year.

What Makes a Casino Name Interesting?

Some Native American casino names begin with tribal names. Some casino names are drawn from popular icons, such as the Thunderbird Casino and Entertainment Center in Norman, OK. Pop names may be used by more than one tribe. For example, there is a Thunderbird Club in Keshena, WI. It is very small with only a few dozen slot machines but it is a licensed casino. The Catoosa Smoke Shop in Catoosa, OK is another example of a small licensed casino.

Many of the casinos are named for the tribes that own them, and some tribes own a lot of casinos. While a tribal name may make a casino name interesting, the interest factor spreads a little thin if there are 5-8 casino locations sharing the same name.

Some of the casinos take striking names that echo in the halls of history, such as the Chisholm Trail Casino. Some casinos take names that hint at undiscovered wealth, such as Treasure Valley Casino. And you have some branded casino names, like the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa.

With over 100 casinos to choose from it’s easy to overlook some good ones. We thought about compiling a list of the “10 Best Casinos in Oklahoma” but the research was going to take more than a night or two. And how do you rate the “best” and “worst” casinos, anyway?  If they have great food but you lose $1000 does that mean they are a bad casino or just that you are a bad gambler?  Or was it simply a bad night?

So “10 Best Casinos in Oklahoma” did not work out for us as a list concept. Maybe we’ll do the “10 Best Casinos in Georgia” … when Georgia ever joins the casino club. It will be easy to stay on top of that list for a while.

While compiling this we looked at the casino Websites and thought it would be interesting to check out their communities.  We kept adding to the list and there are probably a few more that should be here. We just had to stop because when you have over 100 casinos to review eventually you reach a point where you just want to put down their names and addresses and move on. That’s not fair to anyone.

And so we present to you in alphabetical order the 20 Oklahoma casinos with interesting names because that was the only title we could agree upon for the article that kept growing.

1- Apache Casino Hotel

Apachecasinohotel.com

2315 East Gore Blvd. Lawton, OK 73501

If you only learn history from the movies and old television dramas you might think the Apache were a small band of outlaw warriors living in the southwestern desert. There are several groups of Apache spread across the western United States and they have always been part of the Great Plains cultures. The Apache Casino Hotel is located in east Lawton, OK near the historic Fort Sill and other attractions. Visitors will want to take in the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center and the Museum of the Great Plains during their stay at the Apache.

The casino’s spacious gaming area offers slots from leading vendors like Bally, IGT, and VGT as well as table games including blackjack, craps, and Ultimate Texas Hold’Em. The sleek 360 Restaurant offers an attractive, spacious dining area while the Summit Coffee shop keeps the players on their toes. Drinks are served daily at the Loft Bar and quick meals are always available at the aptly name Snack Bar.

2- Artesian Hotel & Casino Spa

Artesianhotel.com

1001 W. 1st Street  Sulphur, OK 73086

Named for and modeled on the original 1906 Artesian Hotel, this modern hotel and casino was built by the Chickasaw Nation in 2010. The original hotel burned down in 1962 and a second hotel was built in the same place in 1965. The Chickasaw Nation acquired the property at auction in 1972.

The casino offers slot games, table games, and Mega Frenzy Bingo, which is a multi-casino progressive version of the game. The Artesian’s spa services for adults and children cater to all age groups. On site dining options include the Springs At The Artesian restaurant and the Bedré Café, a cozy malt shop. Patrons also enjoy drinks at the Fountain Club.

The Artesian is located close to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, the Chickasaw Cultural Center, Lake of the Arbuckles, and Turner Falls Park.

3- Casino Oklahoma

www.casinooklahoma.com

Reviewers on Yelp compliment Casino Oklahoma for its cleanliness. The 30,000 square foot gaming area includes more than 600 class 2 and class 3 electronic games, and a selection of table games. Dining options include the Vortex Grill, Vortex Bar, and the Roadrunner Grab’n’Game where patrons eat pizza and hot dogs after the grill has closed for the night.

Casino Oklahoma is owned and operated by the Delaware Nation, one of several Lenape First Nations groups. The name “Casino Oklahoma” is clever and surprisingly this is not the first casino to have opened in Oklahoma.

4- Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs

http://www.cherokeecasino.com/will-rogers-downs/

20900 S 4200 Rd, Claremore, OK 74019

Patrons enjoy a full gaming experience in this casino and horse racing track (a “racino”) located near Tulsa, OK. The track features live quarterhorse and thoroughbred races as well as live simulcasts from around the country. The grandstand seats 2700 people and the Turf Club can seat about 400. As many as 700 horses can be accommodated at a time.  The on-site gaming includes 250 electronic games and 100 television screens.

On site dining is provided by the Dog Iron Saloon, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The saloon also holds a dance floor where patrons enjoy swing music. Although there is no hotel on site an adjoining KOA campground accommodates up to 400 RVs at a time.

5- Chisholm Trail Casino

http://chisholmtrailcasino.com/

7807 US-81, Duncan, OK 73533

The historic Chisholm Trail was used for cattle drives in the late 1800s and was named for Jesse Chisholm, a half-Scottish, half-Cherokee man who settled in Oklahoma with his mother. Chisholm led an adventurous life but is most well-known for clearing and re-opening an old military road that ran south to north between his two trading posts. Cattle drives from Texas to Kansas took advantage of the road. Chisholm is remembered for assisting the Republic of Texas and the United States in opening and maintaining peaceful relations with plains tribes during his lifetime.

The Chisholm Trail Casino is owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation. The casino has 22,000 square feet of floor space and offers more than 500 electronic games and table games. Patrons dine on site at the Aces Sports Grill.

6- Cimarron Casino

www.cimarroncasino.com

821 W Freeman, Perkins, OK 74059

The Cheyenne have a word for “wild” or “the wild one” and it’s Cimarron. The name may be familiar to movie buffs because it was adapted from a novel in 1931 into an expensive Western picture. “Cimarron” was nominated for all six major Oscar awards and won Best Picture, remaining the only Western movie to do so until 1990’s “Dances With Wolves”. A widely criticized 1960 remake of “Cimarron” helped to end Glenn Ford’s career as a top billed star.

The Cimarron Casino, the book, and various movies take their names from the Cimarron river which flows east into the Arkansas river through Oklahoma. The casino features over 25,000 square feet of floor space and more than 600 slot machines. The casino also offers the Eagles’ Nest Café and the 4th Quarter Sports Bar for patrons to enjoy. The casino is owned and operated by the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, who operate two other nearby casinos as well.

7- Downstream Casino Resort

www.downstreamcasino.com

69300 East Nee Road Quapaw, OK 74363

The fantastic Downstream Casino Resort takes its name from a traditional nickname for the Quapaw people given to them by related Algonquian tribes, Akansea, meaning “down stream people”. The Quapaw originally lived in the Ohio River Valley and were the westernmost of three friendly tribes. Downstream Casino offers over 2,000 slot machines as well as many table games offering blackjack, Ultimate Texas Hold’Em, Three Card Poker, and more. The casino’s poker room boasts 14 tables and the room is open around the clock.

The Downstream Hotel provides world class accommodations in its 374 luxurious rooms, a large event and function center called the Pavillion, and up to 6 dining locations to suit all tastes and budgets. Three full restaurants, a sports bar, a non-smoking lounge, a snack bar, and a coffee shop ensure patrons can find great food, a quiet retreat, and something quick to eat.

8- Firelake Casino

www.winatfirelake.com

41207 Hardesty Road Shawnee, OK 74801

The name “Fire Lake” is interesting because it is found in several different Native American traditions. In the Northwest, for example, the legend of the fire lake at the top of what is now Mount Ranier seems to have preserved an ancestral memory of a period of volcanic activity. Among the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma the name “Fire Lake” is popular among business owners who honor their people’s heritage. The name is connected to the ancient Council of Three Fires representing three Algonquian tribes, including the Bodéwadmi (the ancestors of the modern Potawatomi).

Firelake Casino offers more than 700 slot machine games, daily table games after 2PM, and poker tables in the Firelake Entertainment Center. There is also a Firelake Bingo Parlor where players enjoy both electronic and traditional bingo games. Patrons eat at the Buffet or the Bistro Grill and enjoy the Lucky 7’s Bar.

9- Gold River Casino

www.goldriverok.com

31064 South Highway 281, Anadarko OK 73005

Do you remember the Oklahoma Gold Rush of 1895?  Well, most people don’t. In fact, if 1895 rings a bell at all for you when thinking about Oklahoma, you’ll probably recall that was the year of the last land rush. Gold River Casino is one of two facilities owned and operated by the Delaware Nation, one of several Lenape groups who have settled in the western United States and Canada. The name “Gold River” keeps alive the memory of the gold rush of 1895, which was centered on Fort Sill.

The Gold River Casino offers over 400 electronic games (class II and class III machines). The Lenape Lounge and Grill is a small restaurant located inside the casino. Anadarko is home to the Southern Plains Indian Museum and the National Hall of Fame for Famous American Indians. Visitors to the casino will be sure to take in the local attractions. And you may learn something about the gold rush.

10- Indigo Sky Casino

Indigoskycasino.com

70220 US-60, Wyandotte, OK 74370

Indigo Sky features a plush modern hotel with over 100 rooms. The 8 table poker room is attractive and the casino offers a few tips to first time players on their Website. The casino claims over 1200 electronic games, a 500 seat bingo hall, and a large table game pit. Patrons can choose to dine at three restaurants or visit the Echo Ultra Lounge.

Indigo Sky Casino is owned and operated by the Shawnee Nation, whose government is based in Miami, OK. Wyandotte is situated about 14 miles southeast of Miami close to the north end of the Grand Lake O’the Cherokees, a man-made lake on the lower Neosho River (also called the Grand River). There are two state parks on the shores of the lake that are in close driving distance to the casino. Pensacola Dam is the longest arch dam in the world.

“Indigo Sky” is an old phrase that evokes an image of rich, dark night time sky.  This is a great name that has inspired artists, writers, and many travelers.

11- Newcastle Casino

Newcastlecasino.com

2457 Highway 62 Service Rd, Newcastle, OK 73065

Newcastle is located about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City and competes against many other nearby casinos. Their Website proudly displays their cumulative payouts to players by month and by year, running to over $100 million paid to players each year. The casino has over 80,000 square feet of floor space and more than 3,000 electronic games. The casino also features an indoor stage in its South East building where local bands entertain the crowds on weekends.

Patrons can take a break in the North building and dine at either the Front Row Sports Bar or Kitchen 44, the latter of which is open around the clock. Both venues offer pop American food. They also have a Blackjack Grill. The Newcastle Casino is owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation. What makes this name so interesting?  You don’t often associate castles with Native American cultures but Newcastle embraces the concept with its Concerts @ The Castle series.

12- One Fire Casino

Onefirecasino.com

1901 N Wood Dr, Okmulgee, OK 74447

The Muscogee (also known as the Creek) Nation own and operate One Fire Casino. Although it is not Oklahoma’s largest casino by any means, the name is interesting. The facility opened in 1987 as a bingo hall but now offers over 300 electronic games and weekly promotions. Although the casino appears simple on the outside the inside décor is modern and attractive and they have a restaurant for patrons.  One Fire Casino is one of ten gaming facilities owned and operated by the historic Creek Nation in Oklahoma.

The city of Okmulgee is the heart of modern Creek culture and the Muscogee Cultural Center is located there. The area is popular with campers and RV tourists and also boasts the Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge. Families who want their children to learn about the rich Native American heritage the predated European settlement should visit Okmulgee, where the Creek keep alive their ancient culture. They were one of the Five Civilized Tribes and are the second largest First Nation.

13- Quapaw Casino

www.quapawcasino.com

58100 E 64 Rd, Miami, OK 74354

The Quapaw (pronounced O-Gah-Pah by natives but “Kwaw Paw” by everyone else) tribe has a long history and the State of Arkansas takes its name from the name they were known by among Algonquian tribes in the Ohio river valley, Akansea, which means “down stream people”.  The tribe is closely related to several other First Nations but have a distinct culture.  They operate two casinos, Downstream Casino being the other one.

Quapaw Casino offers more than 500 slot games and several variations on blackjack and poker as table games. The Paw bar and the Jackpot grill serve beverages and food.

14- River Spirit Casino Resort

www.riverspirittulsa.com

8330 Riverside Parkway, Tulsa, OK 74137

River Spirit Casino offers more than 2600 electronic games spread across 200,000 square feet of floor space. You’ll spend some time here for sure. In 2016 the casino added a smaller casino restaurant called Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Casino & Restaurant featuring a Caribbean theme. The casino also provides table games and poker play with regular tournaments.

Six bars and restaurants provide variety for patrons who want something different. There is also live music and events center, undergoing renovation and expansion in 2016 and due to be reopened in 2017. Other additions opening in 2017 include a convention and meeting center and a 483 room hotel.

15- Riverwind Casino

www.riverwind.com

1544 State Highway 9, Norman, OK 73072

The Riverwind Casino is one of Oklahoma’s more glamorous casinos. Situated near a suburb on the south side of Oklahoma City the casino obviously caters to metropolitan area residents as well as tourists. The hotel features 100 business class rooms, a fitness center, business center, and 4 conference rooms. The casino is packed with nearly 3,000 slot games, has numerous gaming tables, and also has a dedicated poker room. Electronic gaming is in full swing around the clock.

On site entertainment is also available in the 1500 seat Showplace Theater and in the River Lounge, a modern bar with live entertainment connected to the casino.

16- Treasure Valley Casino

Treasurevalleycasino.com

12252 Ruppe Road, Davis, OK 73030

Treasure Valley has a theme park name and a spacious 22,000 square foot gaming floor. Owned by the Chickasaw Nation, Treasure Valley is a modest resort with several hundred slot games and card-playing tables scattered throughout the casino area. The Inn at Treasure Valley provides accommodations and they even offer meeting rooms and a ballroom.

Treasure Valley is located close to the Arbuckle Mountains, Bedre Chocolates, the Chickasaw Cultural Center, and Turner Falls. The casino is easy to reach from Interstate 35 as well.

17- Winstar World Casino & Resort

www.winstarworldcasino.com

777 Casino Ave., Thackerville, OK 73459

Everyone except for the guy in the third row has heard about the Winstar World Casino & Resort. The place is huge with 8 gaming plazas, each themed after a famous city. The Chickasaw Nation have outdone all other Native American gaming tribes with this project which not only benefits their own people but also the people of the State of Oklahoma through the millions of dollars of Exclusivity Fees that are paid every year.

Winstar boasts some world-class dining experiences including the Capisce Ristorante Italiano and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill. The hotel offers 1399 rooms (and you do wonder why they couldn’t add a 1400th room in the back of your mind). If the hotel is too much for you or booked up there is also the Inn at Winstar. The casino also features a 3500 seat Global Event Center and three bar lounges that keep the joint hopping on the weekends. The Skyline Lounge piano bar is open every night. The casino’s MIST night club is a popular sleek weekend electro-pop dance venue.

With over 7,000 slot games and over 100 gaming tables Winstar operates around the clock, keeps the lights flashing and the bells ringing. This place is a “must” stop for anyone visiting Oklahoma. They even have an RV park with over 150 slots, a business center, a swimming pool, and regular shuttles to the casino.

And if you decide you want to stay there you can apply to live in the Central Park at Winstar Village luxury apartments.

Conclusion

If you were to argue that Oklahoma were the new Nevada, you wouldn’t be far off the mark. But one of the things I love about the state is that they have such colorful and interesting names for their casinos.

And with over 500 casinos in the state, it’s impossible to list all of the spots that have interesting names. And if you play poker, you’ll probably also be interested in our post about Texas hold’em and cardrooms in Oklahoma.

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