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Tribe’s plan for casino in Oklahoma Panhandle draws concern

OKLAHOMA CITY – An American Indian tribe’s plan to build a $25 million casino in the Oklahoma Panhandle _ which is hundreds of miles from its headquarters _ has prompted a state senator to question whether tribal gambling should be allowed in areas that have no historical tribal connections.

The Shawnee Tribe is proposing a 42,000-square-foot casino near Guymon, located 366 miles away from the tribe’s headquarters in Miami . Supporters say the proposed Golden Mesa Casino will draw visitors from the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas and create 175 jobs.

But Republican Sen. Bryce Marlatt of Woodward said Friday that allowing tribal casinos on land with no historical tribal ties could prompt state leaders to re-examine whether tribes have the exclusive right to casino operations and open gambling to anyone.