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Cherokee Nation to build new casino, hotel in Roland

The Cherokee Nation will hold a groundbreaking for a new casino located about six miles west of downtown Fort Smith on April 29.

According to a press release, the casino will replace the tribe's casino located at the intersections of Interstate 40 and U.S. Highway 64 in Roland, Okla.

Plans for the casino call for 170,000-square-feet of space spread between a casino and a "6-story, resort-style hotel, featuring 120 rooms along with convention space."

The casino-hotel will feature 850 electronic games, as well as table games and a private high limit poker room. Two restaurants will also be included within the new complex — what the tribe described as a grab-and-go café and a Las Vegas-style buffet. The new facility will also feature a live music venue.

The casino now located at the same intersection as the planned development opened in 1990 as the Cherokee Nation Bingo Outpost, according to the release, and houses a 50,000-square-foot gaming venue with 600 electronic gaming machines, as well as eight poker tables and seven table games. A 24-hour diner is also located at the site.

Cherokee's planned expansion will bring the area's second casino-hotel complex. The Choctaw Nation opened an upgraded gaming facility with a 7-story hotel tower in late 2012 as part of a $60 million expansion. It houses a total of 2,200 electronic gaming machines and employees about 850 people.

A cost estimate for the Cherokee Casino-Hotel project has not been announced.

The Roland facility is one of two casinos the tribe operates in Sequoyah County, the other located along I-40 in Sallisaw. The tribe also owns the former Blue Ribbon Downs race track, which is leases to a horse training company.

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The tribe also operates the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Catoosa, Okla., which features two hotel towers and thousands of electronic gaming options.

Groundbreaking for the new casino-hotel will be April 29 at 11 a.m.

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Good for Roland

It's too bad they couldn't build the casino on the Oklahoma side of the river, say in Moffett, but this is good for Roland and the hotel could be used for those visiting downtown Fort Smith.