Paperwork delay in Washington, D.C. is being blamed for a holdup in the start of poker and blackjack

Saturday, January 22nd 2005, 12:06 pm
By: News On 6

CATOOSA, Okla. (AP) _ A paperwork delay in Washington, D.C. is being blamed for a holdup in the start of poker and blackjack card games at an Oklahoma Indian casino, but tribal officials say the games should begin in the next few days.

David Stewart, chief executive officer of Cherokee Nation Enterprises, said the card games are expected to be in operation at the Cherokee Nation Casino Resort by the middle of next week.

The poker and blackjack play has been approved by the Interior Department and was expected to start by this weekend.

But the paperwork moved slower than expected, and the Interior Department's approval has yet to be printed in the federal register _ a must to give the games the green light, Stewart said.

Stewart said the addition of poker and blackjack gaming is the latest step in the Cherokee Nation Casino Resort in developing into a major gaming and entertainment destination for Tulsa and area communities.

Stewart said the expanded casino complex has what is known as a ``niche market that combines gaming, conference facilities, rooms and good food all at the same location.''

``That is unique to Tulsa,'' Stewart said.

The Cherokee Nation has casinos at Catoosa, Roland and West Siloam Springs.

When the new gaming becomes a reality in a matter of days, the Cherokee casino at Catoosa will be waiting on card players with about 70 tables for poker and blackjack action.

There also will be a VIP room for high rollers who have the wallets to play such games as high-stakes blackjack or no-limit Texas Hold'em poker.

The card games are allowed through a compact with the state of Oklahoma, which was approved by voters in a November election.