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Polls show Enid residents favor casino

From the Story collection: Casino in Enid series
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Polls show Enid residents favor casino

The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians tribe is proposing to build a casino on 5.4 acres of property that houses this building at 730 S. 9th. (Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)

ENID, Okla. — Two Enid area polls reveal a majority of residents favor a casino offering Class 2 and Class 3 Vegas-style electronic games along with blackjack, poker, and ball and dice games, according to the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians tribe.

A casino is being proposed by the tribe and would be built on the east side of Enid at 730 S. 9th.

The Enid Casino Perception Study, conducted in recent weeks by SoonerPoll, shows 60.3 percent of Enid residents support the casino after understanding it would increase tourism and growth by attracting an estimated 370,000 visitors each year and would be on par with high-caliber casinos in the area, the tribe said in a statement released Friday. 

Bill Shapard, founder of SoonerPoll.com, said the poll was commissioned by the tribe by landline and cell phones in the city of Enid.

Shapard said SoonerPoll.com targeted likely voters selected at random, using the same polling methodology it uses for all of its statewide polls, only performing in the city of Enid for this one.

Another poll conducted online by the Enid News & Eagle echoes the SoonerPoll results, with 62 percent indicating Enid needs a casino. The poll, which is available to everyone on the homepage of the newspaper's website, www.enidnews.com, is unscientific and conducted only through voluntary online voting, according to the newspaper. The poll was created Sept. 22 and will close at noon on Wednesday.

Does Enid need a casino?

You voted:

Last week, Enid city commissioners learned more about the tribe's plans for a local casino during a study session. Benefits include an injection of $12 million into the city economy over a period of seven years, the tribe said. UKB Corporate Board Executive Director Randall Hendrix told commissioners the casino would create 157 full-time jobs.

“The 20,000-square-foot casino would also satisfy a projected 930,000 gamers in the market who would not have to travel outside the area to play and take their money elsewhere,” Hendrix said.

The UKB also is looking forward to being a good corporate citizen, according to a statement from the UKB. Developers hope to include a safe room inside the casino that would be open to the public during severe weather.

The tribe also looks forward to supporting community through various efforts, including youth sports programs, according to Friday's statement.

Potential future plans for the casino would be the development a family fun center, including a movie theater, bowling alley and laser tag. The casino does not plan to sell wine or beer, developers said.

UKB hopes to renovate an existing building and have the casino fully operational by 2020, according to the statement.

The UKB is seeking a letter of support from the city of Enid to submit with its application to the Department of Interior.

CLICK HERE to see the UKB-commissioned SoonerPoll results.

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