For months, lawmakers in Oklahoma have been clashing with the state’s tribes over gambling compacts. Some of the leaders in Oklahoma argue these tribes cannot operate casinos until these compacts are renegotiated. Fortunately, Oklahoma’s casino issues are finally beginning to improve.
It’s fantastic news for tribes with casinos here. Of course, the entire land-based casino industry in the US is facing serious issues right now. Today, we’re going to look at the history of this dispute and talk about how it’s being figured out.
Let’s get into it!
History of the Oklahoma-Tribe Casino Dispute
As many know, Oklahoma is home to one of the largest casino industries in the country. A huge number of Native American tribes operate casinos here. These gambling venues help to draw in many visitors from nearby states such as Texas.
Initially, Native American tribes here signed 15-year deals with the state to run these gambling venues. These compacts set a certain amount of revenue that casinos would need to pay to the state. At the beginning of this year, the 15-year compacts between the state and tribes officially expired.
Many tribes here claimed these compacts auto-renew. They have refused to shut down their gambling venues, despite the state’s requests. Some of Oklahoma’s leaders have stated these venues are now operating illegally and tribes need to negotiate with the state to come up with a new tax structure.
It’s become a very serious issue. Governor Stitt threatened to shut down the casinos in this state. Finally, these two parties began entering into negotiations.
Until recently, these negotiations seemed to be at a standstill. Several tribes here refused to start paying more in casino revenue taxes. This week, news began to surface that lawmakers and several tribes here have come to an agreement.
Here’s an Update on Oklahoma’s Casino Issues
It was difficult for analysts to predict how long this issue would carry on for. It was clear that tribes were going to fight against raising their current tax rates. State leaders were also adamant that the compacts be renegotiated.
It looks like Oklahoma’s casino issues are finally clearing up. Today, news broke that Governor Stitt had reached an agreement with several tribes. Reports claim that the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria have officially signed new deals with the state.
The Governor released a statement about this situation to the media this week.
“As an Oklahoman and a tribal citizen, it has been my heart’s desire to provide a level playing field for all 4 million Oklahomans and to ensure meaningful opportunities for all our 38 federally recognized tribes that call Oklahoma home,” Stitt said in a news conference.
Interestingly, Stitt has also approved these tribes to start offering sports betting options. Under the new deal, the state’s share of sports gambling is 1.1% of the amount wagered. 6% of casinos’ net revenue will also now go to the state.
When Will Oklahoma’s Casino Open to the Public?
Since March, all of the casinos in Oklahoma have been shut down. This isn’t the only state with these regulations, though. Every land-based casino in the country is shut down right now; including ones in Las Vegas.
This casino shutdown has been extremely damaging to the country’s gambling industry. Many companies are losing millions of dollars every single day. The worst thing is that it’s unclear when these gambling venues will be able to open once again.
Based on new reports, Oklahoma is beginning to open its state back up. Today, Governor Stitt announced that “personal care businesses” can begin to open their doors on Friday. Stitt’s plan to reopen the state is coming in three phases.
No one can really say when casinos will be allowed to open again. Many analysts feel that these venues pose serious risks for infection spread. In places like Las Vegas, several casino companies are coming up with new ideas to open casinos to the public.
It’s great to see Oklahoma’s casino issues being figured out. It now seems likely that other tribes in the state will begin pushing to sign an agreement with the state. We’ll need to wait and see how long it takes for the country’s casino industry to open back up.
Stay tuned for more Oklahoma casino news over the next few months!