WinStar World Casino has impact on Cooke County economy

WinStar Casino is a beacon of economic light for Oklahoma residents as well as residents in Gainesville and Cooke County. Increased commerce has made the region more prosperous.

FULL REPORT 6:10 p.m.:

All Chickasaw Nation-owned businesses that have already been closed to limit the spread of COVID-19, including WinStar World Casino and Resort, will remain closed through April 15, Chickasaw Gov. Bill Anoatubby announced Thursday, March 26.

Many of WinStar’s associated businesses closed down at midnight March 16 as a precaution. The casino, retail stores and casino restaurants were closed in accordance with guidance limiting gatherings to no more than 50 people.

“Based on the best available science, we believe extending effective social distancing policies is the best course of action to help protect the lives, health and well-being of the Chickasaw people, our employees and our neighbors across the state and around the world,” Anoatubby said in a press release.

He added Chickasaw-owned establishments “are implementing work from home policies for many, compensating employees temporarily unable to work as a result of the pandemic, and working to meet the needs of individuals and families facing unique circumstances.”

When many WinStar businesses closed March 16, the WinStar World Casino Hotel remained open, the Register previously reported.

The Terrace View Café inside the WinStar World Casino Hotel also stayed open, but with service limited to no more than 50 people at a time. The Spa at WinStar was closed March 18 until further notice, the casino announced on its Facebook page.

Fun Town RV Park at WinStar, WinStar Golf Club and WinStar Golf Academy stayed open, as well. Legends Bar and Grill remained open but also limited service to no more than 50 people at a time.

The Chickasaw Nation operates WinStar World Casino and Resort near Thackerville, Oklahoma, just north of Gainesville. With about 600,000 square feet of gaming area, WinStar ranks among the largest casinos in the world, according to several roundups listing large casinos by square footage. It seats 3,500 in its Global Event Center.

More than 3,700 people are employed at the casino and in its hospitality and restaurant arms, according to a 2018 fact sheet posted on the casino’s website. More than 2,300 of those employees hail from Texas.

INITIAL REPORT 9:50 a.m.:

All Chickasaw Nation-owned businesses that have already been closed to limit the spread of COVID-19, including WinStar World Casino and Resort, will remain closed through April 15, Chickasaw Gov. Bill Anoatubby announced this morning.

Many of WinStar's businesses closed down at midnight March 16 as a precaution. The casino, retail stores and casino restaurants were closed "in accordance with health official directives discouraging mass gatherings of 50 people or more to slow the transmission of this virus."

The WinStar World Casino Hotel remained open, the Register previously reported. The Terrace View Café inside the WinStar World Casino Hotel also stayed open, but with service limited to no more than 50 people at a time. The Spa at WinStar was closed March 18, the casino announced on its Facebook page.

Fun Town RV Park at WinStar, WinStar Golf Club and WinStar Golf Academy stayed open, as well. Legends Bar and Grill remained open but also limited service to no more than 50 people at a time.

Today's full statement from the governor is below.


Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby today announced that Chickasaw Nation businesses and offices already closed to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus will remain closed through April 15.

Chickasaw Travel Stops (CTS) locations will remain open to serve the public. A complete list of closures and cancellations is available at www.chickasaw.net.

Governor Anoatubby stated, “We are extending these measures on the advice of health professionals who continue to recommend ongoing social distancing as a vital measure in minimizing the spread of this disease.

“Based on the best available science, we believe extending effective social distancing policies is the best course of action to help protect the lives, health and well-being of the Chickasaw people, our employees and our neighbors across the state and around the world.

“We continue engaging with federal and state officials to develop and implement a coordinated response to protect the health of our citizens and minimize the significant economic and social impacts caused by this pandemic.

“Extending effective social distancing policies and practices is a vital part of our efforts to help slow the spread of this disease, save lives and help preserve the opportunity for long-term economic prosperity.

“Therefore, as our leadership team implements a wide range of policies to facilitate social distancing strategies, we are also working to meet the needs of families facing work interruptions, school closures, business losses and other unusual circumstances.

“We are implementing work from home policies for many, compensating employees temporarily unable to work as a result of the pandemic, and working to meet the needs of individuals and families facing unique circumstances.

“We appreciate all the dedicated health care professionals from doctors and nurses to maintenance, administration and support staff who are working longer hours under increasingly stressful conditions to care for our loved ones. Our leadership team is working diligently to support these health care professionals on the front lines of this battle.

“While these are difficult times, Chickasaws, Oklahomans, and all Americans have a record of standing together and supporting one another through all manner of adversity.

“Together, we will win this battle and emerge as a stronger, more resilient nation.”

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