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Comanche Red River Casino Adding Hotel

DEVOL Okla_ The largest employer in Cotton County is adding even more jobs. The Comanche Red River Casino in Devol broke ground on a new hotel Friday.

Officials, casino employees and guests gathered for the ceremony on the casino's north side. They expect it to be finished in less than a year, and it will include nearly 100 rooms.

Chairman Nation Chairman Wallace Coffey said it took a lot of effort from the casino's team and staff to get to this point. He said the hotel idea sparked several years ago, when casino staff noticed something guests were doing and decided they could do something to help out.

The groundbreaking ceremony began with prayer by a former Cotton County Undersheriff in the Comanche language. Then a group performed the Comanche Flag Song.

Coffey said there were some who doubted this day would ever happen.

"There are those that fear a major initiative," Coffey said, "And there are those that have the perception that we're not able to get it done."

He said staff seeing guests sleep in their vehicles while parked at the casino is what inspired the idea for a hotel.

"That was a good lesson for us to learn," Coffey said. "It was a good lesson for us to accommodate our customers. That's what it's all about."

The CEO of Comanche Red River Casino Gaming Chas Robbins agrees.

"It's an opportunity for us to continue to grow," Robbins said. "It's an opportunity for us to continue to cater to the needs and wants of our patrons, our guests."

Officials say the hotel will be about three stories high, include about 90 rooms, a banquet room for meetings and various events, a fitness center and a shopping area.

Both men say for the most part, their role in the project is over. Now, it's up to construction crews to make their vision a reality and continue to improve the economy in Cotton County.

"Several years ago, the per capita income was like at $15,000 annually," Coffey said. "Today, it's $30,000, so we have made an impact upon employment opportunity. We're the largest employer in southwest Oklahoma in Cotton County, and we look forward to continuing that, to provide more job opportunities."

"It's a project for the nation," Robbins said. "Everyone's been excited to see this happen. They feel like it's a part of them. The nation has watched tribal gaming grow. They've seen what it has done to improve the quality of life for other tribal members, and they feel like this is just another step towards success for the tribe."

Officials would not share how much the new hotel will cost, but they expect it to be complete in February of 2014.

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