The West Bay Casino and Resort recently celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony after opening its doors to the public. However, the festivities were interrupted after smoke in the building was reported, according to a local report from KTen in Oklahoma.
The report noted that “smoke and ash were reported inside the Players Club room” just hours after the grand opening.
The Chickasaw Nation, which owns and operates the casino, summarized the events in an official statement by saying: "First responders and maintenance crews discovered combustible material in the ventilation system was the source of the smoke.
“After the small flame was extinguished, first responders and maintenance crews inspected the facility and gave the ‘all clear’ about 6:15."
West Bay Casino and Resort sits on the site of the former Texoma State Lodge. The lodge was demolished in 2009.
Construction of the casino first began in 2016 as a project between the state of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation. The destination is currently comprised of 61 acres near Catfish Bay Marina and features 10 cabins.
According to the Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce Dan Boren, nearly six million tourists visit Lake Texoma annually. Boren shared with local news his hope that the resort will continue to attract guests to the area.
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby took a moment to explain the Tribe’s motivation for getting involved in the casino project.
He commented: "We wanted to create something that would honor the past, something that would be a destination for tourists today, as well as an economic driver for this region.”