Okla. Council Of Public Affairs Weighs In On Gaming Compact Dispute Between Tribes, Gov. Stitt

Wednesday, November 20th 2019, 6:21 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

Conservative think tank, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs said casino gaming compacts with the state should be renegotiated. 

The OCPA said it has crunched the numbers and said the states getting a real bad deal when it comes to gaming.

The tribes and Governor Stitt are at a stalemate over the compacts which will expire next year.

Read Related Story: Stalemate Continues Between Gov. Stitt, Oklahoma Tribes Over Gaming Compacts

The governor said the agreements will have to be renegotiated, and so should the rates the tribes pay.

The tribes believe the compacts automatically renew, although they’re willing to discuss the amount the state receives.

OCPA said the percentages the state gets are way off.

“Most of the states around us are paying well over 20%. Kansas. Missouri. Louisiana. Arkansas. New Mexico. Most are paying 25% or more on their gaming revenue. Here in Oklahoma most of the gaming is taxes similarly between 0% and 6%,” said Dave Bond with the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

OCPA said its findings also show the state is not getting its fair share of so-called class two gaming. Class two gaming includes bingo and isn’t taxed, class three involves slot machines and table games and is taxed, but OCPA said thousands of slot machines are considered class two and not subject to taxes.

“Most other states aren’t anywhere close to the number of class two electronic machines that we have here in Oklahoma. Most of the other machines we have around the country, electronic machines, are class three which are taxed at various levels,” said Bond.

Matthew Morgan, Chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association responded, “That is set forth in federal law. The classification and how that works is set forth by federal law.”

As for the percentage the tribes are paying the state, “When we look at the market throughout the united states the vast majority of rates we fall right in line with,” said Morgan.

“We’d also ask governor Stitt and OCPA look at raw dollars that come into the state where we are number two in the nation in terms of tribal dollars that came in,” he continued.

The gaming compact is set to expire on January 1.