The Osage Plan For A New Entertainment District In Missouri’s Ozarks

Written By Marian Rosin on March 4, 2022
The Osage Nation released plans for a new casino in the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

In an early step towards what the Osage Nation hopes will prove a flourishing enterprise for the tribe, renderings for a new casino were recently released. They lay out a new casino property the tribe plans to build in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks.

The CEO of Osage Casinos, Byron Bighorse, commented:

“We are thrilled to release these renderings to Osage Nation members in a time when Chief Standing Bear is conducting monumental cultural efforts in our ancestral lands.

“Our casino has been nationally recognized for providing world-class gaming. And we are excited to bring this opportunity to Lake of the Ozarks.”

More than just a casino — coming attractions to the Ozarks

Last autumn, the Osage announced plans for a new entertainment district in Missouri. And a new casino will serve as the centerpiece.

Building and preparing it should involve an estimated $60 million investment in the area. This means new jobs, more revenue and increased tourism for the Lake of the Ozarks region.

Plans for the 28 acres of land purchased last June include:

  • A casino
  • Sports bar
  • Restaurant
  • And meeting space

This makes up Phase 1 of the multiphase project, dependent on Department of the Interior approval.

The owners will add a hotel, event center, and more later. The hotel is expected to house:

  • General rooms and suites
  • Fitness facility
  • Pool and pool bar
  • A hot tub

Farther in the future should come more casino space and more food and beverage choices.

Much work needed before new Osage casino approval

As mentioned, the Dept. of the Interior must approve the project for construction to move forward.

First, the Osage must apply with the DOI and show that their plan is in the best interest of the Indian tribe and its members. And that it’s not detrimental to the community structure or character.

Federal agencies must assess the environmental impact, as well. And it doesn’t end there. The tribe will need a gaming compact with the state and approval by the governor.

It could take up to a decade for this all to happen, according to the chair of the Missouri Gaming Commission, Mike Leara. And if it does, the Osage’s planned casino will join 13 state-licensed casinos operating in the state.

Missouri statute caps the number of available casino licenses at 13. However, tribes are not subject to those regulations as they are sovereign nations.

What might delay or derail the effort is that the tribe is expanding its reach. According to Leara, the Osage is expanding from Oklahoma into Missouri, its ancestral home.

Osage’s long ties to Missouri

The Osage originally held lands in Missouri and had some 200,000 members at their largest.

In 1808 the Osage, the largest tribe of the Southern Sioux, traded their Missouri and Arkansas lands for a reservation in Oklahoma.

They proved more fortunate than most Native Americans pushed off their lands.  That’s because they grew wealthy thanks to grazing contracts and lucrative oil and gas reserves.

Today, the tribe operates seven Oklahoma casinos. At the time of the release of the Osage casino renderings Chief Standing Bear stated:

“We look forward to collaborative work with the local community and state of Missouri. We will provide positive economic benefits to the Osage people. As well as those who reside on ancestral lands.”

Photo by TommyBrison /
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Marian Rosin

Marian Rosin is a freelance writer that has written on a variety of topics including publications like Upnest and Psychology Today. Marian brings experience in the gambling sector as the senior copywriter for Isle of Capri casinos.

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