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Casinos in rural Oklahoma bring in about half of all gaming revenue, and the small towns these establishments call home reap some of the rewards. Casino oklahoma.

A report presented at the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association conference Tuesday revealed that small, rural towns get an economic boost when a tribal casino opens, The Journal Record’s Molly Fleming reports:

[Sallisaw mayor Julie Ferguson] said the Cherokee Nation’s continued expansions at its casino have made the town more attractive to outside businesses. The casino is off Interstate 40 and is clearly visible from the highway.

“When the casino went in and we had other businesses go in, I think it sparked stability for our community,” she said. “People aren’t afraid to build here.”

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The more recent example of businesses coming to the area is the Casey’s General Store, which is under construction at I-40 and Highway 59. Casey’s is a gas station and convenience store, with three other locations in east Oklahoma.

She said the casino also provides an entertainment option for people who want to live in a rural area and still want something to do.

“The Cherokees are good neighbors of ours,” she said.

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The report showed 40 percent of casino spending comes from out-of-state visitors driving in from Texas, Arkansas and other neighboring states. Oklahoma City University professor Kyle Dean, who co-authored the economic impact report, told Fleming Oklahoma benefits from the outside investment.

Dean said in rural areas, the tribes could be called upon to provide services to cities that are having difficulty funding them. He showed a state map that had colored dots where people were leaving, and then he overlaid it with tribal jurisdictions. A lot of tribes are in dying rural areas, though some are along the Texas border.

“We benefit from growth in Texas,” Dean said. “I talked to a casino manager who said if Interstate 35 had construction in Oklahoma, he didn’t have much concern about visitors. But if there was work on I-35 in Texas, he was concerned.”

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