Comanche Nation Casinos: Interview with Mia M. Tahdooahnippah, Chief Executive Officer
TG&H: Mia, for those readers who are not familiar with your casinos, tell us about your guests, your team members and what type of market you are in. What attracts folks to your casinos?
MT: We have six gaming properties in Southwest Oklahoma with one that opened earlier this year and another that will open by the end of the year. These properties, Comanche War Pony Casino and Comanche Cache Casino, are the first new properties we have opened in 14 years, so these properties are a big step forward in creating the legacy we envision for our people. War Pony is planned to be our first mega-resort, and has a three to five year projected build out. Comanche Cache Casino will be the first gaming property in Cache, and has already started supporting the local community. Our mission is Numunu, family. We serve our team members, our guests and our communities all with that in mind.
I think what attracts our guests to our properties is that they always know they are going to have a good time at a Comanche Nation Entertainment property. They know the machines will be clean, the games will be new and exciting, and the staff will be friendly and helpful. We are in the business of fun, after all!
TG&H: During one of the most challenging times, you opened a new casino, War Pony early this year and you also have the upcoming completion/opening of Comanche Cache Casino this Fall. Tell us about some of the challenges and opportunities and how you solved them.
MT: There are always challenges with opening new properties, and you’re right that the challenging times were a part of the process with War Pony. We are blessed to have a team of professionals developing our properties that are a part of our family and invested in the success of these properties. Because when we are successful, we create success and prosperity for our people.
Construction and material delays were definitely a factor in the construction of War Pony, but we were able to open within a few months of our projections and in these times we call that a success!
TG&H: You implemented a new customer service program using phrases in English and Comanche to begin concerted efforts to share the Comanche culture and language with your guests and community. What has the response been?
MT: We have had overwhelmingly positive responses from both our team members and our guests. It is a small way we can bring our culture and language into every day operations of the business. It helps team members feel more connected to their heritage, and they are proud to share it with guests who love to learn about it.
TG&H: How are you preparing for 2022 and 2023 with talk of recession and more difficult times ahead for your guests and team members?
MT: We definitely recognize that ebbs and flows in the economy affect our industry as a whole, but we are happy to be a constant fun and safe place our guests can go to escape the realities of the world for a while and have fun with their friends and our team members at one of our properties. We learned so much during the pandemic. That experience taught us to be more efficient and provide the things that our guests really want … a little fun and a little space.