By William Swaim | Wyandotte Nation
On Tuesday, March 2, after years of legal battles, the Wyandotte Nation opened the doors of the new Crosswinds Casino in Park City, Kansas. Many patrons waited in their cars for hours for the casino, located at 777 N Jackpot Way, to open. In the evening, a line of cars waiting to get to Crosswinds Casino extended out to I-135 off the 77th Street exit, and patrons waited in long lines to try out the newest addition to Park City.
“Good evening. I just want to say thank you to everybody for coming out tonight, to the ribbon cutting and the grand opening of Crosswinds Casino. It has been a long time coming,” said Wyandotte Nation Chief Billy Friend to applause from the crowd at the ceremony.
The new 24-hour casino features 500 new slots, 200 VGT machines with Red Spins, a High Limit Lounge, a Bar & Café, Convenient Parking, and 20,000 Sq. Feet of Excitement. The bar and café, called Bottles & Bites, serves breakfast from 6 am to 10 am, and lunch and dinner from 10 am to 2 am. It serves a variety of foods and drinks. Due to COVID-19 and safety precautions, the casino could not open to its full capacity, creating long lines on its opening night.
“Our team is so excited to introduce Crosswinds Casino to Park City and the surrounding communities,” said Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma (WTOK) CEO Kelly Carpino. WTOK is the federally chartered corporation of the Wyandotte Nation.
“Our focus with all of our gaming properties is to provide a fun, clean atmosphere with fan favorite slots and great customer service. Crosswinds Casino is ready to deliver that same experience to all of our guests.”
Chief Friend said it is was not only a great day for the people of the Wyandotte Nation, but also for the people in the community as the Tribe looked forward to being in Park City.
“This is a great night, it’s a great night for the Wyandotte Nation, a great night for the Wyandotte people. Everything we do on the economic side, the gaming side, it enables us to further improve the quality of life for our tribal citizens; through scholarships, healthcare, housing, through everything we do. This money goes right back into supporting the lives of our people, and the people in our communities as well,” Chief Friend said.
“We look forward to being here in Park City, and becoming a stable part of this community and giving back to the programs here.”
At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Chief Friend discussed what it took to bring the casino to Park City.
He said the Wyandotte Nation in 1991 purchased 10 ½ acres where they currently stood, and finally closed on that land Nov. 25, 1992. At that time, he said, the Tribe received what we now know is a wrongful opinion from the U.S. Government from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that the land did not qualify for gaming.
Following that, the Tribe went on to focus on the land in Kansas City, and eventually opened up a casino after 12 years of litigation there, now known as 7th Street Casino.
“Going through that legal process, what it proved was, the Wyandottes had bought the right piece of land the first time,” Chief Friend said. “The 10 ½ acres did qualify for gaming. In 2006, we reapplied with the Bureau of Indian Affairs for an application to take this land into trust for gaming purposes. From 2006-2020 I spent a lot of time in Washington DC fighting a lot of people and against a lot of ridiculous arguments.”
It was May 20, 2020, when Chief Friend received a phone call from the Bureau of Indian Affairs saying the land had been put into trust and that the land also qualified for gaming.
Chief Friend thanked a great many people who supported the Tribe and its efforts at the ribbon cutting. He gave a special thanks to the Wyandotte Nation Board of Directors, some of who were on hand for the ceremony including Vivian Fink, Ramona Reid and Second Chief Norman Hildebrand, Jr., as well as Carpino, new General Manager Kevin Lien and his Crosswinds Casino staff. He went on to thank staff from the Tribe’s 7th Street Casino in Kansas City and staff from the River Bend Casino & Hotel in Wyandotte. He also thanked Crossland Construction, the Bank of Oklahoma, the vendors, and officials representing the city, county and chamber of commerce in Park City and Sedgwick County for supporting the Tribe all these years.
“The Wyandottes — there is one thing about us in our history, we have always been known as a people who adapt and persevere,” he said. “It doesn’t matter the situation we found ourselves in, our people were always good at adapting and always good at persevering… we continue to do that today.”
For more, visit the Crosswinds Casino website: www.crosswindscasino.com.