At high noon Wednesday, anxious people entered the new Indigo Sky Casino and Hotel, located near Seneca, to try their luck, eat at some of the restaurants or even stay the night in the hotel.

At high noon Wednesday, anxious people entered the new Indigo Sky Casino and Hotel, located near Seneca, to try their luck, eat at some of the restaurants or even stay the night in the hotel.

“We are celebrating a fantastic day, the soft opening of Indigo Sky,” Eastern Shawnee Chief Glenna Wallace said. “It has been two years in the making.”

“We will have 117 hotel rooms, 19 suites. The gaming floor is about 54,000 square feet, that includes bingo, off-track betting, poker,” said John Ervin, assistant general manager with Indigo Sky. “The machines, we will have about 1,270. Today (Wednesday) we won’t have all of them up, we still have some testing to do. As far as table games, we have 12 blackjack tables, two high-limit blackjack tables and then, of course, we have eight poker tables. We have some brand new games that even our local area doesn’t have yet.”

The casino is open 24/7. There are five eating establishments with varied hours of operation, along with some bars. There is also an RV park, along with hotel swimming pool and a lot of parking. Ervin stated there are about 690 employees.

“We hired close to 300,” he said.

The old Bordertown Casino, located in West Seneca, Okla., opened in the mid-1980s. It started as a bingo hall, and eventually housed gaming machines and even gaming tables. At midnight Tuesday, the doors closed and the operation moved to Indigo Sky.
The reason for the construction was the casino was landlocked.

“There was no way to increase parking and we knew from talking to our guests [and doing] different surveys, they would like to have a hotel,” Ervin said. “And there was no way to build that where we were at. That began the hunt for the property.”

“The official groundbreaking ceremony was the week after Thanksgiving 2010,” said Howard Smith, senior project superintendent for Red Stone Construction Services of Tulsa, Okla. “We are very, very pleased with the project. We are very pleased with the cooperation that we received from everybody that has been involved in the project. It is a great facility.”

The naming of the new facility
“When we changed location, and we knew that when we built the new facility, that we wanted to build something totally different,” Ervin said. “We look at our local market, we see what our competitors are doing and we wanted to step it up a little bit. So doing that, there was a lot of discussion about the Bordertown name. There is a lot of emotional attachment to that name, it has served our tribe very well. But in the end, we felt that we are making a break from our current look, current standards, we had to break up the name as well.

“One of the things that struck us almost immediately with this property, when you drive on the highway, you are down below this hill, you look up and you see the big sky, it is a wide open sky,” he added. “So we begin with that. With the Eastern Shawnee tribe, ‘blue’ plays a lot in our history. We started looking at different ways to bring that into play. So Indigo Sky is what we came up with.”

Asked what Ervin would like to say to visitors to the new casino/hotel, he said, “Definitely come out and see this property. It is kind of a throw-back to 1950s Vegas. Come in and look at the architecture that we have got.”