Oklahomans can avoid the possibility of being caught in the crossfire between two of the state’s biggest gambling operations when a pair of new casinos open in the coming months.
A $1.4 billion casino in Oklahoma City is scheduled to open in 2019, and Blue Water Casino in Oklahoma Springs is slated to open next year.
Oklahoma has been hit by two gambling scandals in recent months: one involving a high-stakes poker tournament, the other involving a massive jackpot that led to the arrest of a former casino operator and a man convicted of fraud.
The latest scandal involves a man accused of running a multi-million-dollar casino in a tiny rural town and allegedly laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars for himself and his associates.
The state’s largest casino, which is expected to open sometime in 2019 or 2020, is expected by many to draw more than 1 million people a day.
Blue Water has already hosted its first major event, the annual Super Bowl of Broken Dreams, which will draw hundreds of people.
“There’s no doubt that this will be the largest casino in the state of Oklahoma and that’s going to be a great thing,” said Steve Buell, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Gaming Commission, which oversees the state casino industry.
“This is going to create a whole new generation of Oklahomonans who want to come to Oklahoma for a lot of different things, including the opportunity to play the casino that they love and that is so important to our economy and to our state.”
The Oklahoma City casino opened in 2008 as a gamble on the future of the local economy.
Its original plans were to bring in more than $5 million in revenue in the first three years, according to the casino’s website.
The company was forced to abandon those plans after the city lost its bid to build the project.
In March 2018, a federal grand jury indicted former casino executive John O’Neill on federal charges of defrauding investors out of $40 million in losses stemming from a failed $2 billion gambling operation.
He has pleaded not guilty.
The casino operator, a casino owner named Bill Buss, has pleaded guilty to charges of making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.