Grand Lake residents oppose casino 5-29-07

GROVE, Okla. (AP) - Residents concerned over the potential for an increase in crime participated in a protest against a proposed Indian casino.

About 100 Grand Lake residents voiced concern Monday about the $60 million Seneca-Cayuga casino.

“We don't want to take a gamble on our children's future,” said Steve Dyer, one of the organizers for No Casino In Grove.

The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe recently announced plans to open a 100,000-square-foot lakefront casino near Sail Boat Bridge. Protesters ranging from children to senior citizens, carrying orange and white signs, lined about a half-mile of U.S. 59.

“Crime increases and wherever you have a casino you will have prostitution and drugs,” John Melin, one of the protesters, said.

Ben Hynum, a former mayor and city councilor, said there are already plenty of casinos in the area.

“There is nothing positive that comes from a casino,” he said.

At the proposed site, representatives from the Grand Lake Casino set up a refreshment station for the protesters and made available water, soft drinks and cookies.

Ray Rodgers, a Sapulpa schoolteacher and a member of the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe, said the Indian gaming establishments have given money to the schools and to the communities.

“They (casinos) are helping the entire state,” Rodgers said.

Marilyn Hills, Stonebrook Inn manager, and business owner Scott Smith welcomed the casino, which would be between the motel and Smith's watercraft dealership.

“A casino will bring in tourists,” Smith said.