Tribal Economic Impact 2018 - Page 16

A packed crowd came to see country music artist Easton Corbin at a concert at the Buffalo Run Casino & Resort in Miami, Okla. Photo by Gary Crow/Miami News-Record Casinos provide jobs, financial growth for smaller towns BY MOLLY M. FLEMING THE JOURNAL RECORD MIAMI, Okla. – Within a 30-mile radius of this northeastern Oklahoma city, there are 14 casinos. While the attached hotel- room and gaming dollars do not go back into the city’s general fund, the gaming entities’ presence is a boon to the area. The city’s tourism director, Amanda Davis, said her department doesn’t have to spend money on telling people that the Miami area has a lot of casinos. The nine tribes with a presence in Ottawa County do that every time they mention a show or gambling event. “Our biggest challenge is that we know the casinos are bringing them now, so how do be strategic and keep them here,” she said. “That could be getting them to gas up before they leave, or tour the Coleman Theatre.” The tribes with a presence in Ottawa County, home of Miami, are the Cherokee, Eastern Shawnee, Miami, Modoc, Ottawa, Peoria, Quapaw, Seneca-Cayuga, and Wyandotte. Davis said her organization has pivoted its focus slightly to get more athletic events, ranging from basketball tournaments to a National Junior College Athletic Association football Players take in a game at the Downstream Casino in Quapaw. Courtesy photo game, which brings in about 4,000 people. The city also hosts the state’s eight-man football all-star week, with more than 4,000 people in attendance. Many of those attendees will likely stay at the hotels within the city limits, so the hotel sales tax will go to support the work of Davis and her staff. There are 551 hotel rooms in 1 6 T R I B A L E C O N O M I C I M PA C T • J U LY 2 0 1 8 Miami. The casinos can offer 800 rooms. She’s approaching her 12th tourism season at the city. When she started, the hotel tax collection was about $75,000. Now, it’s at $225,000. The city’s sales tax collections are up about $100,000 compared with last year, she said. Ultimately, the casinos are one more