Sunday, April 27, 2008

Where the Cherokee Casino Money Goes

Cherokee Nation Enterprises
Media Advisory
Contact: Mike Miller at (918) 384-7861
© Cherokee Nation - All Rights Reserved

April 25, 2008

Cherokee Nation reports “Where the Casino Money Goes”

After 70 percent of Cherokee Casinos’ profits are reinvested into job creation, the remaining 30 percent is paid directly to the Cherokee Nation to fund important social services. That figure also reached a record level in 2007, $34 million. That’s more than $8 million over the previous year to fund important services such as health care, education, roads, community services and much more.

TULSA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Enterprises (CNE), which operates seven Cherokee Casinos in northeast Oklahoma, is releasing its third annual report, “Where the Casino Money Goes 2008.” The publication outlines Cherokee Casinos’ impact on job creation and the economy in northeast Oklahoma. CNE has created more than 2,100 jobs in the past four years, 400 of those in 2007 alone.

“The best service that we can provide for our citizens is a job. Gaming has always been about creating jobs and providing our people with the means to become self-sufficient,” said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “These are good paying, stable jobs for Cherokee citizens and the surrounding communities. By making crucial investments now, we are creating a better future for our children and the Cherokee people.”

Per the Cherokee Nation’s Jobs Growth Act of 2005, all Cherokee Nation-owned companies, including CNE, devote 70 percent of their profits to creating jobs through reinvestment in its businesses. In 1999, for example, casino profits were $5 million. Nearly a decade later, however, the Cherokee Nation’s reinvestment strategy has skyrocketed both profits and employment. CNE’s profits now top $111 million and the company employs more than 3,200 people, making it one of the largest employers in northeast Oklahoma. Payroll for the company, including wages, taxes and benefits, totaled $119.4 million last year.

CNE is owned and managed 100 percent by the Cherokee Nation and, unlike many other tribal casinos, do not employ outside management companies. This strategy means profits from the Cherokee Nation’s casinos stay right here in Oklahoma.

“From the employees’ paychecks, to payments to local construction companies working on casino expansions, to money paid to the state of Oklahoma as part of our tribal-state gaming compact, money from Cherokee Casinos stays right here in Oklahoma,” said Smith. “There are no outside corporations and no invested shareholders, besides the Cherokee people, who reap 100 percent of the benefits.”

After 70 percent of Cherokee Casinos’ profits are reinvested into job creation, the remaining 30 percent is paid directly to the Cherokee Nation to fund important social services. That figure also reached a record level in 2007, $34 million. That’s more than $8 million over the previous year to fund important services such as health care, education, roads, community services and much more.

“The reinvestment into expanding our facilities and offerings is paying off tremendously in the number of jobs we are creating and the impact we are making across northeast Oklahoma,” said David Stewart, CEO of Cherokee Nation Enterprises. “We continue to be number one in our market, thanks second-to-none guest service; clean, safe facilities; and great entertainment. This strategy, the effort of all our employees and the outstanding loyalty of our guests have all helped us post these record profits.”

CNE is currently expanding its Tulsa and West Siloam Springs casinos. Cherokee Casino Resort, Tulsa, is undergoing a $125 million expansion and is set to be complete in early 2009. It will feature a 20-story hotel tower with 200 rooms; an approximately 1,800-seat entertainment and convention venue; more gaming space to house 750 new electronic games; a Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill restaurant; expanded Wild Potato Buffet and McGill’s restaurants; an upscale nightclub; and additional meeting space.

Later this year, Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs will open after its $108 million dollar expansion. That property will include an 8-story, 140-room hotel; 200,000 square feet of gaming space to house more than 1,600 new electronic games and nearly 30 poker and table games; an expanded nightclub and stage; and several dining options including a fine dining restaurant, a Las Vegas-style buffet and brand-name eateries.

These projects will create more than 1,000 jobs for citizens of northeastern Oklahoma over the next year.

“Where the Casino Money Goes 2008” reports are being distributed through the Cherokee Nation tribal newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, during the month of April. In addition, copies are made available all year long at all Cherokee Nation casinos, retail outlets, hotels, hospitals, clinics and tag offices, as well as the W. W. Keeler Cherokee Nation tribal complex in Tahlequah or the Cherokee Nation official Web site, Cherokee.org.

Cherokee Nation Enterprises is the retail, gaming, entertainment, hospitality and tourism business of the Cherokee Nation. CNE operates casinos in Tulsa, Claremore, Roland, West Siloam Springs, Fort Gibson, Sallisaw and Tahlequah, as well as a horse racing track, three hotels, two golf courses, two convenience stores, a full-service travel plaza, six retail tobacco shops and four gift shops.

To read the report, please click here: http://www.cherokee.org/docs/CNE_MoneyGoes_Mag2008.pdf

(the CBC is trying to stop all this as well)