Reggie Wassana, Governor, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes

Reggie Wassana, Governor
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes

Lucky Star Casino, Concho – El Reno, OK; Lucky Star Casino, Clinton, OK; Lucky Star Casino, Canton, OK; Lucky Star Casino, Hammon, OK; Concho Travel Center – El Reno, OK; Lucky Star Casino, Watonga, OK

CHALLENGES/REWARDS: Post-pandemic has been a new challenge for our casino operations. It helped create new effective processes and plans of action to improve employee morale and drive revenue.

Some of the reoccurring challenges have always been the education or knowledge of eligible managers or coordinators within our service area. Like many small rural areas, the selection process needs to be more significant in numbers. The casino industry is nearly non-existent for experienced personnel. The rewards are having entry-level jobs being produced and opportunities for job placement. This allows tribal citizens to work in the workforce and become independent to provide for their families.
PROMOTING LEADERSHIP: The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes promote the most seasoned and tenured employees ready for the challenges of a supervisory role. We continue to train and offer off-site training as it becomes available. At the six Lucky Star Casino properties, we always promote internally. Still, we will advertise openly for the public when more professional, calculated positions open up.

Our casino operations have been in existence for more than 30 years. We are thankful for the revenue to improve our communities. We employ more than 50 percent non-Native staff at our casinos to show our investment in western Oklahoma. We also donate to our local school districts, municipalities, chambers of commerce, and non-profit organizations, which have been great partners.

FUTURE PROJECTS/INITIATIVES: We were the first tribe in Oklahoma to have a casino. My administration has made more improvements than the previous combined years. We have renovations and expansion for restaurants at two of our casino properties. Another exciting project we are building is a 24-hour travel center on I-40, which is underway with a convenience store, restaurant, and gaming center that will include 12 gas pumps for cars and five diesel pumps for semi-trucks. This will accommodate the heavy traffic on the I-40 corridor.

Soon, we would like to reestablish ourselves in our traditional homelands of Colorado. We look to expand our economic development ventures for job opportunities and tribal care programs. We continue to recover lands once held by the Cheyenne and Arapaho people. We look forward to placing four parcels of land into trust that will give the tribes opportunities for jobs and economic development creation. We want to raise our income levels to help offset the inflation rise, but creating revenue will be the only way to combat inflation and increase our tribal care programs. We are constantly challenged, but feel more than up to resolving these vital issues. We sustained ourselves this long and will continue to progress toward independence.