North Texans will soon have another casino resort to visit up I-35 across the Oklahoma border.
The Chickasaw Nation announced this week that construction on its newest project, the Lakecrest Hotel and Casino, is halfway finished.
Barring any setbacks, construction will finish in the spring of 2024. The property is located on the north shore of Lake Murray, two miles east of I-35 on US Highway 70, a 30-minute excursion from the Texas border.
What amenities will Lakecrest Casino have?
Oklahoma has over 140 casinos statewide, many within a short drive from the Lone Star State. Commercial casinos and Texas online casinos remain illegal. Residents in North Texas thus have two options to play casino games: Play legal online sweepstakes casinos or head north and patronize an Oklahoma tribal casino.
Lakecrest will be the third Chickasaw casino along I-35, north of sister properties WinStar and Border Casino and four miles south of Gold Mountain Casino in Ardmore. Its offerings include:
- 70,000 square feet of gaming space
- Nearly 1,000 slot machines and other electronic games
- Eight table games
- An 89-room hotel with a resort-style pool
- A restaurant, a bar, a business center and a conference space
These casino specifications put Lakecrest in the same category as the hotel-less Border Casino, which houses over 900 machines inside an 88,000-square-foot gaming space. It’s larger than neighboring Gold Mountain and much smaller than the behemoth Winstar.
Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce Dan Boren spoke confidently about the future resort.
“We believe this project will become a destination location and economic engine for the region. This project continues to leverage our experience in providing entertainment, retail and hospitality while attracting visitors from Texas, Arkansas and surrounding states.”
There are currently three tribal casinos in Texas, but none of them feature Class III gaming — the types of Vegas-style slots and table games you see at Oklahoma casinos.
A win for the region
Casinos provide many pros for their cities, counties and states, including job creation, new tax revenue and increased foot traffic to nearby businesses. Lakecrest will do the same for Carter County.
The casino expects to offer over 200 jobs with a $3.7 million annual payroll. The Chickasaw Nation estimates its first year will bring $102.4 million to the regional economy, including construction. In the longer term, it projects a $307.6 million five-year economic impact.
Statewide, Chickasaw operates more than 20 casinos with a $5.5 billion annual economic impact (supported significantly by Texas). It employs nearly 35,000 people and provides $1.8 billion in wages and benefits, helping rural communities.
Chickasaw takes advantage of locations near Texas border
The Chickasaw Nation has another three casinos on Lake Texoma, including the new West Bay Casino and Resort. West Bay opened in May and is smaller than Lakecrest, with a 9,600 square-foot casino, 275 slot machines and a 40-room hotel.
Texoma Casino is a few minutes west of West Bay and similarly sized at 8,800 square feet with 370 slot machines.
Further west and south, Megastar Casino sits just north of Sherwood Shores and is the largest of the three, with 58,500 square feet of gaming space and over 600 slots. Neither Texoma nor Megastar have hotels.
Construction continues elsewhere, too.
A $70 million expansion at Golden Mesa Casino began in September. It is located in Guymon in the Oklahoma Panhandle. The Shawnee Tribe operates Golden Mesa through a partnership with the Chickasaw Nation-owned Global Gaming Solutions.
The project will add several new amenities and attractions.
- Doubling of the size of the casino floor from 40,000 square feet to 80,000 square feet
- Increasing the total number of games from 600 to more than 1,000
- A new 100-room hotel
- A full-service restaurant
- An RV park
Golden Mesa is the only casino in the Oklahoma Panhandle. It is about 20 miles north of the Texas border, two hours from Amarillo and around three-and-a-half hours from Lubbock.