The state of Oklahoma has one of the largest numbers of Native Indian Tribes in the nation. As far as real money casino gambling, this has led to a thriving industry for land-based operations. An ongoing dispute between the state government and the tribes with with casinos in Oklahoma.
According to the report, the governor of Oklahoma Kevin Swift is looking to increase state revenue at the expense of the state’s casino industry. There are 35 Oklahoma-based tribes operating close to 130 land-based casinos. He is pushing those tribes to renegotiate the existing gaming compact. He is also urging state lawmakers to sit down with the Oklahoma casino tribal leaders and hash out the details of a new revenue-sharing plan.
This plan has obviously has not been received well by the tribal casinos in Oklahoma properties or the tribes themselves. The idea of giving more money to the state out of existing casino revenue is definitely not in their best interest.The shift took to the media to plea his case. In a recent op-ed piece for the Tulsa World news outlet, he made a comment:
“The easiest thing to do is simply renew the existing compacts ‘as is’. Rather than do the hard work of closely reviewing and negotiating new compacts that reflect the state affairs today. I believe, however, that voters elected me to look at everything in state government with a fresh eye. And, where necessary, make the difficult decisions that are in the best interest of all four million Oklahomans.”Also, learn if online gambling if legal in the United States of America.
The first-term governor is a member of the Cherokee Nation and he went on to add:
“In this case, that means sitting down with our tribal partners to discuss how to bring these 15-year old compacts to an agreement that reflects market conditions for the gaming industry seen around the nation today.”
The original terms of the existing compacts call for a 4 to 10 percent cut of gross tribal casino revenue. The actual percentage is tied to the type of gaming activity. This has been referred to an “exclusivity fee.” The annual Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) for all the tribal casinos is $4.5 billion. This ranks third on the list in the country behind California and Nevada.
Top members of the tribes were taken back with Shift’s public approach to this matter. John Berrey is the chairman of the Quapaw Nation . In an interview with the Associated Press he commented as follows:
“What I don’t understand, in any of his op-ed, there’s no recognition of the true value of the tribes. Native American tribes are one of the largest employers in the state. We provide benefits to our employees. We’re probably the most philanthropic group in the state.”
The current compacts for casinos in Oklahoma are in place and set to expire at the beginning of next year. At that time, the state government and the tribes with try and work out any new details. The tribes still hold the upper hand since the expired compacts will simply carry forward if a new deal is not forged.