WinStar Casino, All Chickasaw Nation Casinos in Oklahoma, Reopening May 27

Posted on: May 26, 2020, 09:15h. 

Last updated on: May 26, 2020, 12:19h.

WinStar World Casino and Resort in Oklahoma, along with all gaming properties owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, are reopening tomorrow, May 27.

WinStar Oklahoma casinos reopen
A gambler wears a face mask at the reopened Osage Casino Hotel in Ponca City, Oklahoma. WinStar will require guests to wear face coverings when it reopens May 27. (Image: Matt Barnard/Tulsa World)

The Chickasaw Nation announced the reopenings of their 20 casinos and gaming facilities last week. The Native American group says they will welcome back guests at approximately 25 percent capacity, and will have numerous health and safety measures in place to protect employees and patrons.

Our leadership team has developed a comprehensive plan with numerous levels of protection to protect the health of our employees and patrons,” said Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby. “We continue closely monitoring the data and consulting health professionals in an effort to maintain the most effective containment measures available and minimize any possibility of resurgence.”

Safety measures include requiring employees to undergo a daily screening protocol, which will include testing their body temperature. The Osage Nation, operator of seven casinos in Oklahoma, was first to reopen casinos in the Sooner State. It did so on Friday, May 15.

No Masks, No Service

WinStar measures nearly 400,000 square feet of gaming floor space. It’s nine city-themed casinos collectively offer approximately 8,500 slot machines and electronic games, plus 155 table games.

WinStar bills itself as the world’s largest casino. When it reopens tomorrow, gamblers will need to wear face masks to enter the massive property. Social distancing will also be observed throughout the resort, including in restaurants and bars.

Valet service is suspended, and all pools remain closed. Complimentary drink stations are not in operation, but free water and soda will be available at bars.

The entire resort will be closed daily from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. for cleaning. Table games, off-track betting, poker, bingo, entertainment, the WinStar Convention Center, and other amenities will remain closed during the initial reopening.

Oklahoma has reported 6,090 cases of COVID-19, and has cited the disease for 313 deaths.

Tribe, Governor Align

The Chickasaw Nation and other tribes are at odds with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) regarding the legality of their gaming compacts. The first-term governor contends the revenue-sharing contracts expired January 1, 2020, following a 15-year run. The Chickasaw Nation, along with 12 other Oklahoma tribes, have sued the state and Stitt, arguing the gaming compacts automatically renewed for another 15 years.

Stitt wants more money from the larger tribal casinos – several which the Chickasaw Nation owns. Of the gaming tax revenue received by the state in the most recently disclosed fiscal year, the Chickasaw Nation accounted for more than $47.87 million of the $138.59 million total.

The Choctaw Nation accounted for the second-most gaming tax receipts at a distant $26.27 million.

When it comes to dealing with the coronavirus, Stitt and the Chickasaw Nation are more in agreement. The governor never issued a formal stay-at-home order, and Oklahoma was one of the first states to allow nonessential businesses like casinos to reopen.

Stitt’s three-stage reopening plan began April 24, and today places of worship, gyms, bars, restaurant dine-in services, retail stores, salons and barbershops, movie theaters, concert venues, and sporting facilities are back open.