Operator Gary Batton

The Choctaw Nation

Durant, OK 74701

The Choctaw Nation, based in Oklahoma, was federally recognized in 1971 and operates Choctaw Casinos & Resorts.

History 

The Choctaw Nation was recognized as a sovereign nation under the Treaty of Hopewell as early as 1786, which was signed by the Congress of the United States, the Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw people. 

Despite only being 16 years since the Trail of Tears, the people of the Choctaw raised $170 ($5,000 in modern currency) when they heard of the Great Irish Famine in the 1840s and 50s and sent it as aid. Since then, both Ireland and the Choctaw Nation have upheld positive ties with each other. Ireland has built statues to commemorate the donation and offered the Choctaw-Ireland Scholarship Programme at local universities. During 2020, Ireland donated a sizeable amount to the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation.

The Choctaw Nation would once again find themselves on the international stage when 19 Choctaw soldiers were enlisted into the 142nd Infantry during World War I. These became known as the Choctaw Code Talkers, who could send communications to one another without the enemy forces being able to decode them. This was repeated in World War II, with people from both Choctaw and Navajo.

The Choctaw Casino Bingo, the first gaming venture from the Nation, was opened in 1987. This franchise would continue to grow, with the Choctaw Casinos & Resorts brand now operating eight casinos and hotels in Oklahoma.

Tribal Government

The Choctaw Nation Tribal Headquarters are based in Durant, with the building opened in June 2018. The current Chief is Gary Batton, who was sworn into office on April 28, 2014. He is supported by Jack Austin Jr, sworn in on April 29, 2014, and was previously the Director of the Choctaw Nation Recovery Center in Talihina, Oklahoma.

To assist with the Choctaw Casinos, the Nation founded the Choctaw Nation Gaming Commission (CNGC). This is to ensure that operations comply with Tribal, Federal and State regulations. The CNGC is also responsible for issuing licenses, monitoring compliance and tracking revenues.

As part of the CNGC licensing process, operators will hold different coloured licences depending on what stage of the process they are at. For example, a light blue license will indicate a temporary license pending approval, while yellow licenses are issued to non-cash handling employees of casinos.

Tribal gaming operations

The first gaming establishment from the Nation was Choctaw Casino Bingo, which finished construction in 1987. Only a year later, in 1988, Oklahoma passed a law that allowed three different classes of gambling, which allowed Choctaw Casino Bingo to offer slot machines, blackjack and poker. It served as the primary casino for the Choctaw gaming industry for many years.

The flagship Choctaw Casino Resort was later built in 2006, which was completed for $60m. The venue received so much interest that it underwent an immediate expansion. In 2010, the Grand Casino and Hotel was built adjacent to the property. Soon after this the original Choctaw Casino Bingo closed operations.

There are several venues currently operated by the Choctaw Nation. These are Choctaw Casinos at Broken Bow, Idabel, McAlester and Stringtown; Choctaw Casino & Resorts at Durant, Grant and Pocola; and Choctaw Landing at Hochatown.

Renovations

As the largest part of the brand, the Choctaw Casino & Resort Sky Tower in Durant has undergone several renovations since opening on March 8, 2006. The resort has three casinos and resorts on the complex, which stretches across 218,844 sq ft (20,331 m2) of gaming floor. In total, the Choctaw Casino & Resort Sky Tower hosts over 7,400 slot machines and over 1,600 hotel rooms.

One of the first renovations at the property was the construction of the North Casino, which would provide 110,000 sq ft (10,000 m2) more floor space, effectively doubling the gaming floor. 

In 2015 the Choctaw Casino Resort at Durant would open the Spa Tower, which would add 286 rooms and suites. Later in the same year, in September, the District would open as an entertainment center. Operating as a non-smoking area, the District would offer a video arcade, movie theater, bowling alley and virtual reality arena.

The Sky Tower was added in 2021, providing the Choctaw Resort in Durant with 21 floors and 1,000 more hotel rooms. Additional facilities in the Sky Tower include those provided by Aqua, including two swimming pools, water slides, a swim-up bar and hot tubs.

The Oasis, which has pool areas, water slides, jacuzzis, cabanas, and dive-in movies being shown on an inflatable screen during the summer months was temporarily closed in 2023 for renovations.

Non-gaming operations

The Choctaw Nation has a diverse portfolio of businesses separate from its casino operations. Aside from the eight casinos, it also runs several tribal smoke shops, over a dozen truck stops and three Chili's franchises. The Nation also runs a printing operation, drug testing services, hospice care, a manufacturing business and a management service, among others.

The Choctaw Nation Health Care Center was also one of the first indigenous hospitals to be constructed using only its own funding. The Nation also operates eight clinics and an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited program.

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