HOBART — The Kiowa Tribe made a first ever for its tribe with a land acquisition in Kiowa County.

On March 26, the tribe finalized the acquisition of new trust lands east of downtown Hobart to be the future site of a new Kiowa Casino, according to Neely Tsoodle, tribe information officer.

“This action restores former lands to the tribe and will provide jobs and economic benefits to Kiowa people, as well as local and regional economies,” she said. “The trust acquisition (gaining land) is the first ever for the Kiowa Tribe and is believed to be the first in the region for gaming purposes.”

The casino is expected to be about 17,000-square feet and will include slot machines, table games, a restaurant and gift shop. It is anticipated that the project will employ 156 people and generate 325,000 customers per year, according to Tsoodle. The gross economic revenues are estimated to be about $13 million per year, serving a large boost for the Kiowa Tribe and Hobart community.

“This is a prime opportunity to embark on great purpose for our Kiowa people while providing a community endeavor that will assist with prosperous advantages, and entertainment, to this

economically distressed area,” said Kiowa Tribe Chairman Matthew Komalty. “We express our sincere gratitude for this approval.”

The property acquisition is for the benefit of allowing the Kiowa Tribe to restore land to the tribe in one of its most important areas, Tsoodle said. The tract is located within the external boundaries of the tribe’s original reservation set aside pursuant to the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867 and many Kiowa people still live in the Hobart area.

The tribe worked with the Hobart Economic Development Authority for several years to arrange for land within the City of Hobart’s industrial park to be conveyed, free of charge, for the benefit of the Kiowa people, Tsoodle said. The acquisition has broad support from the Hobart community, which provided dozens of letters voicing their support for the acquisition.

The trust acquisition is the first ever for the Kiowa Tribe and believed to be the first in the region for gaming purposes, Tsoodle said. Conner & Winters LLP in Tulsa assisted the Kiowa Tribe with the fee-to-trust application, which was submitted in April 2018. Negotiations within the tribe goes back even further than that, back to 2009, she said.

Written by Scott Rains: scott.rains@swoknews.com.

Written by Scott Rains: scott.rains@swoknews.com.