Tribal-state gaming compact approved in Oklahoma

An Oklahoma state ballot measure to legalize certain electronic casino machines for tribes and selected racetracks was approved at the polls on Tuesday.

State Question 712 passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote. About 40 percent said no to the measure.

Large tribes such as the Chickasaw, Choctaw and Cherokee nations spent millions seeking passing of the question. They say the measure will stabilize for the state's growing gaming industry. In the past, federal regulators have questioned the legality of the machines operated by the tribes.

The tribes will be able to offer electronic machines that meet definitions laid out in the measure. Three racetracks, one of which is owned by the Choctaw Nation and another by the Cherokee Nation, will be able to offer the same games.

In exchange, the tribes and the tracks will share a percentage of revenues with the state. The state estimates a $71 million annual windfall that will go to education.

Smaller tribes opposed the measure, saying they will be swallowed up by the larger gaming operations. They objected to state regulation of their facilities and a provision that forces them to agree to a state tobacco tax compact.

Leaders of larger tribes predicted nearly two-thirds of voters would support SQ 712. They see it as a step towards Class III gaming. Two lottery measures, State Question 705 and State Question 706, were on their way to approval, with final results pending.

Get the Story:
State Question 712 passes (The Oklahoman 11/3)
Lottery questions appear to pass (The Oklahoman 11/3)
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