On the heels of the New York state legislature looking to approve three non-Indian owned casinos, the Oneida Indian Nation has voted to move forward on its Yellow Brick Road Casino to be built in the area of Chittenango Village, just outside Syracuse. The village is located within the confines of land granted to the tribe over three decades ago.
The casino gets is name as a tribute to L. Frank Baum, author of the classic book "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" as well as 17 other books about Oz. Baum was born within the city's boundaries on May 15, 1856.
The Oneida tribe is currently the owner/operator of the Turning Stone Resort Casino in the city of Verona, which is located in the beautiful Mohawk Valley in the central part of the state. The decision to move forward on the $20 million dollar project was prompted by the fact that one of the casinos being consider by the legislature is tentatively scheduled to be built in the same general area as the Yellow Brick Road Casino. By getting the jump, the Oneida tribe hopes to build a loyal following within the region.
As part of the 1993 gaming compact with the state, the Oneida Indian Nation is within its rights to build casinos within the boundaries of its reservation without prior approval from any city/county/state government agencies.
The casino is set to feature 67,000 sq. ft. with 430 slots machine and a large bingo parlor. Other planned amenities include an Indian style general store, two dining facilities and a western theme bar. The 24/7 facility is tentatively schedule for a spring opening.
According to Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Enterprises CEO, the casino is being built as part of the tribe's continuing contribution to the local economy. He stated “The Yellow Brick Road Casino will create numerous construction jobs for our local trade workers and more than 250 permanent positions once it opens.”
Aside from the Turning Stone Resort Casino, other community business contributions include an RV Park, a small chain of gas stations, Four Directions Productions (animation studio) and the Indian Country Today Media Network.