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Osage Nation Pushes Bid for Missouri Casino


CUBA, Mo. (AP) — A Native American tribe in Oklahoma has hired lobbyists in its bid to open a casino in Missouri.

The Osage Nation hired former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley on Aug. 15 to lobby on its behalf. The tribe also hired Tom Robbins and Shawn Rigger, two of Tilley's associates at Strategic Capitol Consulting Firm, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .

The Osage Nation wants to build a casino near Cuba, Missouri. The city is 80 miles (129 kilometers) southwest of St. Louis. The tribe has also looked at property in Kimberling City as well as in the Lake of the Ozarks region.

Federal law allows tribes to open casinos in states outside their reservations under certain circumstances. Such decisions in Missouri require approval from the governor.

The hiring of lobbyists by the tribe comes nine months after the tribe wrote checks worth more than $52,000 to help support Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' inauguration, said Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear.

"We thought we would show him respect," Standing Bear said.

Tilley was elected to the House in 2004 and was moved up to speaker in 2010. He left two years later.

Robbins served as general counsel to former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who is now an aide to Greitens.

The Osage Nation currently operates seven casinos in Oklahoma.

The Missouri Gaming Commission reports that the state's 13 current casinos have generated $211 million for schools so far this year.