Oklahoma Casino Operator Hires Titan

ATLANTA Cherokee Nation Enterprises has retained the Titan Network without a review, the client confirmed.

Thrifty Car Sales, an Oklahoma client of Titan, referred the Atlanta agency to CNE.

The shop will provide research, advertising, promotions and public relations services for the Tahlequak, O.K.-based Native American tribe.

“We sold them on business consulting,” said agency CEO Tony DeMartino, who touted his agency’s experience with the gaming industry. “You have to know how to design the facility, lay out the games, know what kind of properties to put in, everything down to the kinds of restaurants and the adjacent retail space needs to feed off the marketing of the property.”

The casino would like to reposition itself as a weekend destination. To that end, it is expanding its gaming rooms, revamping a small golf course into a championship 18-hole layout and adding a 150-room hotel.

The expansion caused CNE to rethink its target market, according to client CEO David Stewart The casino attracts a local, blue-collar player with an annual income of $20,000 to $35,000. “But we feel there’s some unmet demand for a different type of customer,” said Stewart. “We’re searching for the proper facility to build and the right feel of the casino to attract that customer.”

The new customer, according to DeMartino, is the high-income player looking for a weekend getaway with golf included.

CNE, the managing organization for all Cherokee Nation gaming operations, operates three gaming facilities in northeastern Oklahoma. It is currently expanding its Catoosa property, adding 60,000 square feet to its existing structure, building a 150-room hotel, and restoring and enlarging its 1920s-designed golf course. The number of slot machines, the casino’s largest source of revenue, will increase from 700 to 1,700.

The Cherokee Nation employs approximately 1,000 people in its Oklahoma gambling operations. It generates $65 million in revenue annually, but, unlike other states, where casinos must regularly renovate to keep pace with the competition, CNE runs the only game in town.

Budgets for the program were not disclosed. Promotions and advertising, including TV, radio, print, will launch in the third or fourth quarter of this year for the property’s spring 2004 reopening.