Several months after the prospects of the establishment of a Lake Ozark casino run by the Osage Indian Tribe emerged, the Native American tribe is seeking proposals for the demolition of a vacant motel and its accessory buildings at the selected site at Bagnell Dam Boulevard.
On January 3rd, a public notice in the Eldon Advertiser reported that Requests for Proposals were being sought from experienced demolition contractors to tear down and remove improvements from the site that has been chosen to host the casino venue. As revealed at the time, contractors have until 3:00 PM on February 15th, 2022 to table their proposals at Osage Central Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Requests for Proposals became available on January 27th and are set to be sent via email to the tribe’s chief Christopher Standing Bear. They are not binding to the Native American tribe, as Osage Casinos has the right to either accept or reject any of the proposals or all of them.
The announcement for the project to build a $60-million hotel complex featuring a casino, entertainment center, and dining area that would be built on a 28-acre site was officially made in late October 2021. It had some intense consequences for the Lake community as controversial public opinions for and against the newly-unveiled plans started appearing on social media platforms. One of the local community leaders publicly revealed that was against the project, boosting the tension between the proponents and the opponents of the casino venue.
Lake Ozark Casino Project Would Need Federal Approval from US Department of Interior
The recently announced casino project would have to receive federal approval from the US Department of Interior. According to information published on the 500 Nations website, the tribe has already submitted an application for the project to the department, which will need about a year or more to process it and announce a decision on the matter.
The Osage Indian Tribe confirmed it has submitted an application to the US Department of Interior, seeking the federal body’s approval of a Class II gaming casino in close proximity to Lake Ozark. As the tribe shared, the decision on whether the Osage casino proposal is in line with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) is to take up to 2 years. If the project gets the green light, the US Department of the Interior will transfer the land for the casino into federal trust, which would grant sovereignty to the land and the tribes’ rights to offer casino gambling that are currently exempt from the gambling laws and regulations of Missouri.
Under the provisions of Missouri’s state constitution, the number of casino operating permits is limited to 13. A federally-approved Indian casino venue, however, does not need an operating license and does not need special approval in case a similar form of gambling is already available in the state.
The Osage Nation Indian Tribe has been looking at investments in Missouri for a few years, at least since 2017 when it hired Steve Tilley, former House Speaker, as a lobbyist and donated $52,000 to the inaugural fund of the former Governor Eric Greitens. At that time, Christopher Standing Bear confirmed that the tribe was considering a couple of sites in Missouri, in addition to Lake of the Ozarks.