Oklahoma’s legal battle against Native American Tribes continues. It doesn’t appear to be stopping tribes from expressing interest in opening casinos here. The Choctaw Nation has revealed plans for a new casino in Oklahoma this week.
There are a staggering number of Native American casinos in this state. The gambling industry here is showing no signs of slowing down. Let’s look at the state’s battle with tribes and what new casino plans have just been revealed.
Lawmakers and Tribes Continue to Quarrel
Oklahoma has the third-largest number of Native American Tribes in the United States after Alaska and California. In 1988, the US Supreme Court passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, allowing all Native American Tribes to operate casinos on sovereign land. Immediately, a huge number of tribes in this state decided to open their own casinos.
Over the past two decades, Oklahoma has developed one of the largest tribal casino markets in the country. Since the 90s, tribes have been required to pay between 4% and 10% of their revenue in taxes to the state. In 2018, tribal casinos brought in more than $139 million in taxes.
Recently, however, Governor Kevin Stitt has asked for lawmakers in the state to reevaluate the current tax structure. He simply wants to ensure that the state is earning what it should from these gambling venues. Interestingly, Stitt voiced this opinion to the media, instead of lawmakers directly.
His new idea did not sit well with tribal leaders in the state. Many tribes immediately began pointing out the contribution that they make to the state. Increasing tax rates would go against an agreement that’s been in place for decades, they argue.
Negotiations are continuing to take place between the tribes and state officials. It’s unclear exactly how this situation will unfold.
Choctaw Nation Unveils Plans for a New Casino in Oklahoma
Despite the unknown future tax rates for casino operators, many tribes are still looking to open a gambling venue in Oklahoma. This week, the Choctaw Nation revealed its plans for a new casino in Oklahoma. More specifically, a casino in Matteson, at Lincoln Highway and Harlem Avenue. Many are excited to hear what may be coming here.
The town of Matteson is currently fighting for its opportunity to host a casino. Plans to construct a $300 million gambling venue was presented to the Village Board. A vote on the new casino will be made on October 21st.
Sheila Chalmers-Currin, Village President of Matteson, commented on the decision to open a casino in this city to the media.
“I believe this project will be an asset not just to Matteson, but to the entire Southland Region,” she said. “After interviewing multiple casino operators, we felt the team led by the Choctaw Nation provided the best combination of experience, vision, community engagement and a financially feasible plan.”
The plan, which the Choctaw Nation would be helping with, calls for 2,000 gaming positions, a high-end restaurant and food hall, a 200-room hotel and 36,000 square feet for small conventions, concerts or similar events. The proposed site covers 35 acres and could include another 15 to 20.
This tribe already operates 22 casinos around the state. Soon, it may have a 23rd.
Oklahoma Still Hesitant to Approve Sports Betting
For many years, only Nevada was legally allowed to offer sports betting in the United States. Finally, in May of 2018, the Supreme Court struck down PASPA. Almost immediately afterward, several states began presenting plans to legalize and regulate the sports betting industry.
Today, 19 states have chosen to legalize sports gambling. Many more likely will over the next few months. A bill was presented in Oklahoma earlier this year to allow “sports pools.” Unfortunately, the bill failed to get approved before the state’s legislative session.
Many believe that sports betting will be approved in this state next year. It seems extremely likely, as the state would likely earn millions every month from this industry.
Plans for a new casino in Oklahoma have been presented. We’re likely to see even more gambling venues open here over the next several years.
Stay tuned for more Oklahoma gambling news over the next few months!