Osage Nation Hotel and Casino Opens in Pawhuska

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The Osage Nation recently inaugurated their newest addition to the list of Oklahoma casino venues with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Osage Hotel and Casino in Pawhuska.

After several years of delays, partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Osage officials announced the October 5 opening date two months ago.

The newly opened casino section of the Osage Hotel and Casino houses 259 slot machines, providing a variety of electronic gaming options for visitors. The casino focuses on slots and electronic gaming, and will not offer table games.

There is also no sportsbook, as Oklahoma retail sports betting is limited to horse racing wagers at the state’s racing tracks. However, the Osage venue will include, as per the name, a full service, 47-room hotel and spa, plus various restaurant and bar options.

The operation will employ 119 local people, with more than 3,000 feet of event space with various use options.

“This new facility in the heart of Osage Nation is a significant point of pride for Osage Casinos,” said a statement by CEO Kimberly Pearson. “We’ve worked hard to provide a high-quality experience, and we can’t wait to start welcoming guests.”

Dining and Event Hosting

Adjacent to the gaming floor, the Big Spoon Bar and Restaurant provide dining options for visitors, offering a range of menu items, including various burger and steak options. The establishment’s event space was utilized for a complimentary brunch during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The 47-room hotel portion of the establishment offers a range of amenities, including a poolside bar, a spa, and a spacious patio. First-floor guests have direct access to the pool deck, and the hotel provides views of the surrounding Oklahoma hills. Positioned on Highway 99, the four-story, 87,000-square-foot property has now replaced the nearby and rather dated Osage Casino, which operated for 20 years.

The entire Osage Hotel & Casino Pawhuska is adorned with historical and modern indigenous art, reflecting the cultural heritage of the Osage Nation.

The recent Martin Scorsese movie Killer of the Flower Moon was mostly filmed in Osage County, and incorporated the Osage language for many characters. The Nation’s Chief Standing Bear sees this as a source of pride, and plans to use some of the casino revenues to fund a tribal heritage space in Pawhuska that will use sets and art pieces sourced for the film’s production.

Financial and Cultural Implications

The Osage Nation operates its casinos with a nonprofit model, directing funds earned back into tribal programs.

These programs encompass various areas, including health care and language preservation, and also fund college tuition for Osage citizens. In the previous year, the tribe’s casino operations generated nearly $75 million, which was reinvested into these tribal programs.

In addition to the new facility in Pawhuska, Osage Casinos is planning a grand opening for another new property in Bartlesville later this year.

The Pawhuska facility, in particular, is primarily a hospitality business, aiming to cater to returning visitors to the reservation and providing additional lodging and entertainment options for tourists in the region.

“The timely completion is part of a long-term plan to respond to the influx of tourists coming to Pawhuska. It’s also a response to the lack of hotels available for our Osage people coming home to visit,” said Chief Standing Bear.

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