PERRY, Okla. — Fancy Dance Casino, a new gaming development by the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, will open Friday at the intersection of Interstate 35 and U.S. 412.
However, an executive decision was made to postpone the grand opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting.
"The decision was made to eliminate a large gathering during a pandemic for the safety of our staff and guests," said Christina Morrill, community outreach specialist for the casino.
In collaboration with Perry City Council, Richard Lonsinger, CEO of Ponca Enterprise Gaming, and Morrill are two of many who have worked to ensure a successful and safe opening.
After months of delay, the 10,000-square-foot building will include 290 game machines, a covered, multipurpose outdoor seating area and complete food and beverage service for both inside and outside areas.
“Guests can enjoy anything from barbecue beef sandwiches to Reubens to bratwursts, and we will serve a variety of deli meats and cheeses. Several options for beer and liquor will be available,” Morrill said.
The casino’s unique outdoor seating area will include portable TVs for various events and a walk-up window to order food and beverages.
“We’re not just a casino — we’re a destination,” Morrill said. “If people are coming in off of the interstate, we have various options for food and beverage, and there is a tailgating option for people who want to spend game days with us.”
Though the outdoor area was in the works before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it will be especially rewarding in the coming months, Morrill said, and will ensure further safety to those who wish to visit the casino with their party while remaining as safe as possible.
“If someone doesn’t want to play the games inside, they can still come eat and drink and safely socialize,” Morrill said.
Guidelines by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in place, she said, and Fancy Dance is taking all recommended precautions to ensure guests are safe and comfortable, whether enjoying amenities inside or outside.
“Everyone entering the casino will have their temperature taken, and all employees will be required to wear masks,” Morrill said. “Masks are recommended for patrons, but not required. All machines will be consistently wiped down throughout the day.”
Fancy Dance also has a state-of-the-art filtration system that filters out and replaces old air every seven minutes.
Timberlake Construction was the general contractor for the project, Frankfurt-Short-Bruza Associates was the architect, and CP&Y Inc. was the engineering firm, according to the tribe’s website.
“The new Fancy Dance Casino will be a source of revenue and stable employment for the Ponca Tribe and residents for years to come,” said Lonsinger in a news release on the tribe’s website. “The selection of three Oklahoma-based companies is a prime example of how quickly it will begin making a difference for Oklahomans. We’re proud to be the source of such great economic impact not only to surrounding counties but also to our tribe’s members.”
To date, the casino has employed 67 people.
The casino’s hours are 4 p.m. to midnight each day.