For years, the Shawnee Tribe in Oklahoma has been working to open a new gambling venue. This week, the tribe officially opened the doors to the Golden Mesa Casino, located in Guymon. It’s exciting news for casino gaming fans located in the Oklahoma panhandle area.
There are many great tribal casinos now operating in Oklahoma. Today, we’re going to look at this state’s casino revenue. We’ll also take a quick look at what other gambling options may come here. Let’s get into it!
Golden Mesa Officially Opens to the Public
Yesterday, the Shawnee Tribe, along with its partners, Global Gaming Solutions, celebrated the grand opening of the Golden Media Casino. It was a long time coming. The tribe had worked for years to open a casino in this state and spent millions on the construction of the Golden Mesa.
This casino, located just two miles southwest of Guymon in the state’s panhandle, is bringing 175 new jobs to the area with an expected $3.7 million in annual payroll. Shawnee Tribe Chief recently spoke to the media about the opening of his new gambling establishment.
“Today marks an historic day for Guymon, the entire Oklahoma Panhandle and the Shawnee Tribe,” he said. “The opening of Golden Mesa Casino positions this region as an emerging entertainment and tourism destination as we expect this casino entertainment center to bring visitors from Texas, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico.”
The casino features 40,000 square feet of gambling space. There are 600 electric games, a range of popular table games such as blackjack and roulette, and a fully-functioning bar.
It’s expected to be a financial success for the Shawnee Tribe. According to a study from Oklahoma City University, this casino will generate $34 million annually. That’s great news for the state, as well, who will earn millions in taxes each year.
Oklahoma’s Casino Industry is Booming
Oklahoma is home to several major Native American Tribes. Since 1988, these tribes have been giving federal permission to open casino venues. Incredibly, there are now 102 casinos in the state of Oklahoma, with an estimated 70,000 slot machines and 4,600 bingo seats. As you might expect, this industry is bringing in serious revenue for the state.
In 2018, the state earned $139 million from casino taxes. At the moment, lawmakers tax the state’s casinos between 4-10% of their overall revenue. Unfortunately, Governor Kevin Stitt has begun calling for a reevaluation of this tax structure, causing a serious rift with Oklahoma Tribes.
The tribes argue that they provide more than just money to the state. They also invest their own earnings into healthcare, education, and infrastructure. Stitt isn’t backing down, however, continuing to ask the state’s Gaming Board to review the current set of tax rates.
It’s still unknown whether or not the rate at which these gambling venues are taxed will change. Other states tax their casinos from 20-25%. It’s possible that lawmakers will recognize this and request that Oklahoma implement similar rates. The tribes aren’t likely to accept that without a long, drawn-out legal battle.
Oklahoma May Soon Legalize Sports Betting
Earlier this year, several politicians in Oklahoma presented a bill that would allow tribal casinos to offer sports betting options. Unfortunately, the bill failed to be approved during the state’s legislative session. Many gambling analysts still feel that Oklahoma’s sports betting market will become regulated within the next few years.
Ultimately, the decision lies in Governor Stitt’s hands. He clearly recognizes the huge revenue potential from sports betting. Allowing sports gambling options inside tribal casinos would bring millions of additional dollars to the state every year.
Several major tribes in Oklahoma have also expressed a desire to see sports betting regulated.
Matt Morgan, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, commented on the future of sports betting in this state to the media recently.
“Tribes are ready to have that discussion,” he said. “The ball is in Gov. Stitt’s court.”
Many states around the country, recently including Iowa, now have fully-regulated sports betting industries. Even states with harsh gambling laws such as North Carolina and Georgia are interested in legalizing and regulating this popular form of wagering.
For now, gambling fans in Oklahoma are limited to casino gambling. Those in the panhandle area can check out the brand new Golden Mesa Casino, now officially open to the public.
Make sure to stay tuned for more Oklahoma gambling news over the next few months!