With the completion of their new Kappa Tower, Ne Spa and indoor pool recently, Downstream Casino Resort was the backdrop for two events on Friday.

With the completion of their new Kappa Tower, Neé Spa and indoor pool recently, Downstream Casino Resort was the backdrop for two events on Friday.

The first was a report on the casino’s economic impact and the second, a ribbon cutting ceremony during a press conference at the hotel.

“On May 14, 2007, just down the road at the tri-state marker, we said we were going to break ground and it has led us to today,” said John Berrey, chairman of the Downstream Development Authority. “We are very excited. Part of the opening of the Kappa Tower is to celebrate what we have done over the past five years. A lot has changed, the tornado has come, we have dealt with bad economic times, which we feel like things are getting better, we have had a lot of employees come, some have gone, we have lost some of the employees that have died, we have had a lot of babies born to employees here at Downstream, we have become very good friends with the local community. We are very proud of our relationship with city of Joplin.”

Over its five-year history, Downstream has infused more than $1 billion into the Tri-State regional economy, according to an independent study.

Berrey, along with Downstream general manager Steven Drewes, presented a PowerPoint report detailing the casino’s economic impact in the region where Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas intersect.

Highlights of the report include:

• Overall economic impact history – Since its July 2008 opening, Downstream Casino Resort has generated more than $225 million in economic output annually, and created more than 1,640 permanent jobs with total annual workers’ earnings of more than $58 million.   

• Since opening, the casino resort has generated a cumulative economic output of almost $750 million. With the completed construction of phase II, the expanded $361 million casino resort has generated a cumulative economic output of more than $1 billion for the Tri-State Region.

• Downstream's direct impact — The resort's direct impact comes from its own 1,200 jobs with $34 million annual payroll, almost $12 million in annual employee benefits, as well as its $41 million in annual purchases of goods and services for on-going operations, and more than $7 million in annual taxes.

• Overall impact is the result of direct impact dollars multiplying throughout an economy and creating induced and indirect impact – this is also known as the “ripple effect.”

• Missouri impact – The “ripple” effect on the Southwest Missouri region includes $26.3 million annually for Jasper County, $2.7 million annually for Newton County, and $49.1 million annually for the state of Missouri as a whole, as well as 407 jobs statewide with annual earnings of more than $17.4 million.

• Kansas impact – Induced and indirect impact on southeast Kansas includes $9.7 million in total annual output and 86 jobs with annual earnings of $3.3 million.

• Oklahoma impact – Induced and indirect impact on northeast Oklahoma includes $10 million annually in total output and 87 jobs with annual earnings of $3.4 million. Downstream Casino Resort pays the state of Oklahoma more than $5.7 million in annual gaming taxes, and cumulatively has paid the state more than $29 million in all taxes.

• Tribal impact – Downstream distributes $10 million a year to the Quapaw Tribe that goes toward tribal services such as health care, environmental services, senior services, children's learning center, scholarships and subsidized housing for Tribal members. That money also ripples through the regional economy.

•  Future impact – With the opening of its new Kappa hotel tower, Neé Spa and other amenities, total annual economic output is projected to reach almost $300 million annually, as well as creating a total of 1,880 permanent jobs with total annual earnings of almost $68 million.  

• Upon completion of Phase II at casino resort, the expanded $361 million property has also created some 1,300 construction jobs to date.

Matthew Robinson, principal of KlasRobinson Q.E.D., researched and wrote the economic report.

“The results of our study reveal an impressive achievement,” Robinson said. “It indicates that Downstream could serve as a model for Indian gaming's potential in creating regional economic development."

Charitable giving and community partnerships are a big part of Downstream’s mission and regional impact, Berrey said, with the resort donating about $500,000 a year spread among numerous organizations throughout four states (including Arkansas).

For example, in 2011, donations were even higher due to Downstream’s commitment to the Joplin Tornado relief and rebuilding effort, which is ongoing – Downstream sent $70,000 last week to the non-profit Joplin Tornado First Response Fund, from money raised by ticket sales at last year’s summer concert series.

“We are also very excited about our new partnership with the communities of southeast Kansas to build a new waste water treatment system,” Berrey said, “as well as our expanding role as a primary provider of fire and emergency services in northeast Oklahoma.”

After the press conference, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held and guests toured the new facilities and had refreshments.