ENID, Okla. — A casino east of Enid will open in late 2018, Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma announced Tuesday.

Construction will begin on the 12,000-square-foot Fancy Dance Casino in March 2018, according to a news release. The tribe is constructing the casino on the southeast corner of Interstate 35 and U.S. 412, where it owns 106 acres of land.

“The pursuit and finalization of this economic development venture has been a long, but rewarding process. In the end, after later phases of development, we will own a world-class facility in Noble County and provide quality jobs to hundreds of our tribal citizens and neighbors,” Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma Chairman Earl "Trey" Howe III said. “To build a better future for our citizens, we must continue to create these kinds of opportunities that improve the quality of life in northern Oklahoma.”

The tribe is collaborating with Chickasaw Nation's Global Gaming Solutions to build the casino, which is an important aspect of the development, Howe said.

“They have a reputation and proven track record of success. Together, we will be able to provide a second-to-none entertainment experience for the region,” he said.

The Ponca Tribe is known for its songs and singing style as well as for the Fancy Dance, which is one of the most recognizable and photographed styles of native dance, the release states.

Naming the casino, which will have more than 250 gaming machines, after the Fancy Dance is a tribute to the Ponca's contributions to history and culture across Indian Country, Ponca Gaming Enterprises LLC Chairman and CEO Richard Lonsinger said.

The project will house food services and a smoke shop, he said.

More than 50 full-time jobs will be created in the first phase of development, and construction will employ another 250.

“Our return to the gaming market could not be any better planned. In later phases we hope to add more amenities, like fine dining options, hotel accommodations and a store with a fueling station for cars and trucks,” Lonsinger said. “The location and the accessibility of the intersecting highways means many positive development possibilities for the future.”

Investing in local infrastructure will help the community and ensure the site has the needed water, electric and roadway access, he said.

“Quail Road will be paved at the tribe’s expense, and drinking water and fire suppression services to the area will be upgraded,” Lonsinger said. “The Ponca Tribe is a good partner to the city and county governments. And this endeavor will only reinforce that.”

The development will add to the tribe's portfolio.

Already a significant local employer — with 150 jobs in Kay and Noble counties — the Ponca Tribe is also a major landholder, with interests in agricultural development and mineral interests throughout the region, including at the former Chilocco Indian School, the news release states.

The casino will be wholly owned and operated by the Ponca Tribe, which is governed by a business committee. Committee members include Howe, Bennett Arkeketa, Paula Mendoza, Casey Camp-Horinek, Kinsel Lieb, Douglas Rhodd Sr. and Douglas Eagle Sr.

It will be operated by the tribe’s subsidiary, Ponca Enterprise Gaming LLC. The managers of the LLC are Lonsinger, Joe Thompson, Howe, Barbara Warner and Arkeketa.

The tribe previously operated two casinos in Ponca City, but both are closed.

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Miller is city reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. She can be reached at

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Involved in news reporting for about 15 years, I've been with the Enid News & Eagle since 2014, when my family moved to Enid to be on the family farm.

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