Hubby, sister-in-law and I are attending a Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City Council meeting tonight to protest a Creek Nation casino going up a few blocks from our homes. First things first: 6:30 pm, City Council Chambers at Broken Arrow City Hall, 220 S. First Street. Be there by 5:30 pm if you can. The Story: I returned home one day after a shopping trip, jubilant that one of our area intersection corners was being prepped for building something. My excitement was the possibility that a QuikTrip was going in on that spot. If you are not in one of the ten states where QuikTrip convenience stores operate, believe me, your loss is great. So to my horror and dismay I eventually find that the corner is owned by two women who are heirs to the original Muscogee Creek Nation land allotment. Plans are for the casino to open in prefab buildings – eight to twelve of them with slot machines!
The property is directly across the street from Broken Arrow Technology and Career School, a wonderful resource for Tulsa school children and adults and, across the street from the future site of a new elementary school.
Seems the small city of Broken Arrow, which is a bedroom extension of Tulsa, has known about the plans for “a few months” but failed to notify residents. There was also no warning from Tulsa County. Likely the expected revenue was too delicious, at the expense of some amazing neighborhoods, and others planned for this still developing area; an area which includes some of the most beautiful and useful trails for residents found anywhere – miles of which are very popular with runners, walkers, bikers and strollers.
The Kialegee Tribal Town (KTT), headquartered in Wetumka, Oklahoma plans to open the Casino. Kialegee is a part of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. On April 15, 2011, KTT reportedly notified the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) of their intent to open a casino on the corner of Olive (129th East Avenue) and Florence (111th Street South), in Broken Arrow.
July 19: A compact between the state [Oklahoma] and the Kialegee Tribal Town is approved for Class III gaming on Indian lands and is published by the Secretary of the Interior in the Federal Register.
A 120-day period for NIGC to object, apparently passed with no objection. Ground was broken and now a spokesman for the Creek Nation says they are still considering the licensing request and warns that KTT is proceeding at their risk, that it is a matter of Creek Nation sovereignty and NIGC is the last word.
The casino, known as Red Clay Casino (never mind that Oklahoma’s red clay is mostly in the central and western portion of the state – we are in the northeastern portion) is being developed by Florence Development Partners.
Florence Development Partners consists of the tribe and the property owners, which land records list as Marcella Giles and Wynema Capps, heirs to the original Muscogee (Creek) allotment granted to their grandfather in 1903. Source.
The attorney for Florence Development Partners is Luis Figueredo from Florida.
In defense of the city of Broken Arrow, they say they are limited by Federal law, in what they can and cannot do – the Indian gaming laws and sovereignty rights. There is no zoning board involvement and no city or county licensing. Governor Fallin’s office says Class III gaming permits on Indian lands are automatically approved. The next step: the state receives revenue.
Crime is obviously the main concern to residents and businesses in the area.
…the comprehensive national study, “Casinos, Crime, and Community Costs,” published in 2006 in TheReview of Economics and Statistics, a prestigious academic journal produced by Harvard and MIT. Like the leaders of other grassroots anti-gambling groups around the country, Rubens considers it the ultimate scientific authority on the subject.
The study by economists Earl Grinols, now of Baylor University, and David Mustard, of the University of Georgia, examined crime rates in every county in the nation covering a period of 20 years — from 1977, just before the first casinos outside Nevada were built in Atlantic City, to 1996. It concluded that opening a casino led to local crime increases averaging eight percent…
Ten years ago [US Rep. Frank] Wolf and other lawmakers opposed to casino expansion had more sway. Wolf was one of the moving forces behind the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, whose 1999 report stressed that “pathological” gamblers have a tendency to commit crimes to pay for their addiction. (Gambling addiction is a sickness, according to the American Psychiatric Association, and criminal activity is a symptom.) The report called for a ‘pause’ in casino expansion in order to provide more time for research. That didn’t happen, but the 2006 Grinols-Mustard study filled in some of the gaps.
In addition to documenting increased crime rates in counties where casinos had opened, the study found that nearby counties also felt the impact and that a casino didn’t just move crime from elsewhere toward the casino’s county but created it. Grinols and Mustard had examined the seven serious FBI “index” offenses: aggravated assault, robbery, murder, burglary, auto theft, larceny, and rape. All except murder showed a significant increase.
The 2006 study remains the most definitive yet, says John Kindt, a legal policy professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who publishes papers on the social costs of gambling. “There’s nothing that can touch it,” he says. Dennis Delay, an economist who researches gambling issues for the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, adds: “The Grinols-Mustard study is probably state of the art.”
The article quoted above also gives the pro-gambling side of the argument, which few area residents would give any credence to as those arguments have only to do with money.
Well, the casino cure for crime proved to be just as delusional as gamblers’ luck, says University of Georgia economist David B. Mustard.
Mustard and Earl L. Grinols of Baylor University analyzed crime data collected from all 3,165 U.S. counties in the United States from 1977 to 1996 and looked at local crime rates before and after casinos opened.
They found that crime didn’t budge when a casino began operating — at least at first. Crime began to rise after the first year, slowly at first and then more quickly, until it had far surpassed what it would have been if the casino had never opened. By the fifth year of operation, robberies were up 136 percent; aggravated assaults, 91 percent; auto theft, 78 percent; burglary, 50 percent; larceny, 38 percent; and rape, 21 percent. Controlling for other factors, 8.6 percent of property crimes and 12.6 percent of violent crimes were attributed to casinos, he said.
But what about all those casino jobs and newly minted police? Mustard said the positive effects of casinos are fleeting — payrolls and tax collections quickly plateau, and municipalities don’t keep adding cops after the first wave of casino tax revenue rolls in.
What’s more, Mustard said, crime rates didn’t rise in neighboring counties while they soared in casino counties — evidence that casinos create crime locally and don’t merely attract it from somewhere else.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation laws cited by Gaming Commissioner Jason Nichols
Title 21 3-101 B
“Any other forms of public gaming operations being conducted within the jurisdiction of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation without the lawful written approval of the commissioner are prohibited.”
Title 21 12-101
“The Muscogee (Creek) Nation shall have the sole proprietary interest and responsibility for the conduct of any gaming operations.”
If the Creek Nation cannot keep a casino out of Oklahoma neighborhoods where one school exists and another is planned…virtually across the street, then shame on them, and shame on them for not meeting the 120-day objection period. They want to cite rules, but they don’t want to follow them. Refusing the casino within that period for all of the good reasons above, would save a lot grief, time and money.
I do not oppose casinos. I am proud of most of those in the Tulsa and surrounding area. While I’m not a gambler, if on the premises, I will enjoy some video poker. I like the big name acts our Hard Rock brings to the area, and others do the same. I love going to Las Vegas and staying in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. I love the shopping, and dining in the Casinos and patting hubby on the shoulder for good luck as he plays Black Jack.
Neighborhoods are not the places for casinos. No one but a casino owner wants one in their own neighborhood, and most owners wouldn’t put them there unless they live in a high rise penthouse on the Las Vegas Strip. If you live in the area, please come out to the Broken Arrow City Hall, 220 S. First Street, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Be there by 5:30 pm if possible. City Council meeting begins at 6:30 pm. Bring a protest sign if possible.