Chickasaw Nation to Open Lakecrest Casino Hotel in Oklahoma

Posted on: April 23, 2024, 05:21h. 

Last updated on: April 24, 2024, 10:06h.

The Chickasaw Nation will open its newest casino hotel on Wednesday, April 24.  

Chickasaw Nation Lakecrest Casino Hotel Oklahoma
Oklahoma’s Chickasaw Nation will hold a soft opening of the Lakecrest Casino & Hotel on Wednesday, April 24. The tribe says a grand opening and ribbon cutting will be held at a later date. (Image: Lakecrest Casino & Hotel)

Continuing its expansion spree in Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation, already one of the nation’s largest gaming tribes with 16 casinos and three travel stop gaming plazas, plans to open its 17th casino in the Sooner State on Wednesday.

Lakecrest Casino & Hotel is located in Ardmore just east of Interstate 35 along US Highway 70.

The 70,000-square-foot casino floor will primarily cater to slots players, as Lakecrest will house more than 1,000 of the newest terminals. A small allotment of table games — eight to be exact — will offer blackjack and Ultimate Texas Hold’em, a variant of the popular poker game that’s played against the house.

As sports betting remains prohibited in Oklahoma, no sportsbook will be at Lakecrest.

Soft Opening Only

A spokesperson for the tribe said Wednesday will be a soft opening. A grand opening and ribbon cutting with tribal officials and distinguished guests will come at a later date.

Along with the casino space, Lakecrest will feature an attached hotel with 89 guestrooms and suites, a resort-style outdoor pool, and conference facilities. A grill, full-service bar, and coffee spot are also forthcoming.

Lakecrest will additionally come with an RV park, including 20 lighted concrete slabs equipped with electrical hookups, Wi-Fi, and 24/7 security.

The Chickasaw Nation announced the Lakecrest project in 2020 along with the tribe’s West Bay Casino Resort project overlooking Lake Texoma. West Bay opened last May and replaced the former Texoma State Lodge.

West Bay is about 30 miles east of where Lakecrest will open tomorrow. No precise time for Wednesday’s opening has yet been made public. The tribal spokesperson said such soft openings are typically “fluid.”

Protecting Home Turf

Oklahoma’s gaming tribes rely heavily on Texas, specifically the Dallas-Fort Worth market. Lobbying efforts to legalize commercial casino gambling in the Lone Star State persist, with Las Vegas Sands billionaire Dr. Miriam Adelson and NBA Dallas Mavericks billionaire Mark Cuban aligning last year.

The odds, at least for now, of Texas welcoming commercial casinos remain presumably long. But if Las Vegas-style casinos one day do come to Texas, the Chickasaws continue to ramp up their presence along Oklahoma’s southern border to protect their economic interests.

The tribe owns and operates what’s billed as the largest casino in the world — WinStar World Casino and Resort. The facility in Thackerville is just miles north of the Texas border.

WinStar features nine casino venues with distinct themes ranging from Beijing to Rome to Paris to New York. The complex collectively has over 10,000 slots and 100 table games.

The Chickasaw Nation, as well as several other prominent gaming tribes in Oklahoma, aren’t standing idle as lobbyists paid for by Sands continue to try and win over gaming support in Austin.

During the 2022 state elections in Texas, the Chickasaws donated $744K to political campaigns. Of the money the tribe spent in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) got the lion’s share at $300K. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick received $95K.

Abbott has been a resilient opponent of allowing casinos to come to Texas, though he has slightly softened that stance in recent years.