Tribal Economic Impact 2018 - Page 17

product that Davis’ team can sell. Her office also sells an entire region in northeast Oklahoma, including Grand Lake, Pawhuska, and Bartlesville. For Steve Gilbert, the casinos and their entertainment offerings help him sell the city to businesses looking for a new location. He’s the president and CEO of the Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Part of our sales pitch is this rich culture and quality of life, created by the tribal presence,” he said. “It gives us an advantage. It’s a really cool place.” When a prospecting business comes to look at the area, the representative gets treated to a meal or event at the casino. The person is also shown around downtown, where annual Mural Fest 66 has put nine murals on walls in the Route 66 town. “We’ve had a good group of public and private organizations that are trying to do awesome, fun, cool stuff,” Gilbert said. The casinos offer Miami residents more than entertainment, though. They also offer jobs, which come with full benefits. People can then take their paychecks and circulate the money back into the economy. “You cannot deny the job impact,” he said. On the opposite corner of the state, the employment aspect is the best offering provided by the three casinos in Cotton County. The Comanche and Kiowa tribes run the entities. Cotton County Commission Chairman County, which is something the abundant casinos do not do. The tribes have helped the county in other ways, such as providing clothing for schoolchildren or the providing money to rural fire departments. Estichi said he’d like to see the tribes “Part of our sales pitch is this rich culture and quality of life, created by the tribal presence. ...” Steve Gilbert , president/CEO, Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce Edward Eschiti said he visited with both tribes and they employ about 100 people at the casinos. In the last 16 years, the county’s median household income has nearly doubled to $48,732, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The traffic from the casinos helped attract a Love’s Travel Stop at Highway 70 East to the area. People have to get off at Highway 70 in order get to a Comanche or Kiowa casino. The sales at Love’s will provide sales taxes to the town of Randlett and Cotton provide more financial help in the county, especially with three casinos there. The exclusivity fees go back to the state’s education fund. That money is distributed to all 77 counties, even if there’s no casino in the area. “I’d like more of that money to stay in the county,” he said. He said the county seat, Walters, is hurting. “But we’re making it,” he said. “(The casinos) do help, jobwise.” Long-Term Business Relationships • Equipment Financing Capital for casinos & Hotels • Tech Support Awesome Service • Game Analysis • Marketing Support J O U R N A L R E C O R D . C O M • THE JOURNAL RECORD 17