Quick brief, 19 July 2023: Device found in Osage Casino and Hotel, Oklahoma, was explosive simulator – investigation is ongoing

20 July, 2023 Hotel Attacks

(Muir Analytics’ Quick Brief is broadly based on the Pentagon EXSUM briefing method. The aim is to quickly explain an evolving hotel threat issue in about 15 lines in executive summary format. Muir has added a quick analysis of the issue that can help hotels mitigate certain risks.)

Chain of events

  1. Bartlesville Radio reports that on 13 July, Osage Casino and Hotel in Ponca City, Oklahoma, was forced to evacuate because an explosive device had been discovered inside the hotel.
  2. The Osage Casino and Hotel, reportedly a 3-star property, is owned by the Native American Osage Nation and has 137 rooms plus seven suites, says TripAdvisor.
  3. The device was discovered at 8:15 am when a hotel guest reported to the police that they’d found an explosive device in their luggage.
  4. KOCO News 5 says there was an Osage Nation powwow going on at the time.
  5. Responding law enforcement included the Osage Nation Police Department, the Osage County Sherriff’s Department, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s Bomb Team, says KOCO News 5.
  6. The device was described by police as an explosive simulator that is designed to create a loud bag and bright flash – these devices have minimal shattering power (brisance, or explosive power).
  7. KOCO News 5 interviewed Jennifer Swords, General Manager of the Osage Casino and Hotel, who told the press that they followed a pre-prepared crisis response plan and evacuated all hotel guests from the venue.
  8. Police removed the device from the property and searched the premises for other devices. Finding none, they allowed guests back into the venue.
  9. Neither the police nor the hotel offered any explanation for the device being in the hotel.

Analytical Takeaways

There are five takeaways. First, comments by GM Swords on the hotel-casino’s crisis management plans, presumably for explosive device-related events, indicates the hotel’s emergency response protocols were effective.

Second, although the explosive device in this case was not a powerful one, it still could have caused human casualties plus physical damages, and possibly a fire. In the event of injuries, this would have exposed the hotel to lawsuits.

Third, the fact that an explosive device made it into the hotel indicates a potential gap in the hotel’s security protocols.

Fourth, the incident could have implications on the hotel’s insurance policy, with potential increases in premiums due to the identified security risk.

Fifth, while the motivation for introducing the explosive device into the hotel remains unknown, the fact that a powwow was ongoing at the time might be significant. Muir Analytics’ research indicates that the Osage Nation 2023 Census was ongoing when the crisis occurred.

Muir Analytics runs the world’s largest, most sophisticated hotel violence database – the SecureHotel Threat Portal – with over 2,400 hotel attacks (and growing.) We can provide the hospitality sector with intelligence that facilitates full-spectrum risk reduction, which helps hotels protect guests, staff, buildings, brands, and revenues. Contact us for a consultation:  1-833-DATA-444.

Sources and further reading:

New information released after agencies respond to explosive found at Ponca City casino, hotel,” KOCO News 5, 17 July 2023.

Explosive device found in Osage Casino Hotel-Ponca City,” Bartlesville Radio, 14 July 2023.


Copyright©Muir Analytics 2023