The gaming floor at the One Fire Casino, owned and operated by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Ocmulgee, Oklahoma. Photo: I-5 Design & Manufacture

Republican lawmaker links expansion of gaming to car tag revenues in Oklahoma

A key Republican lawmaker in Oklahoma is proposing an expansion of tribal gaming but there's a catch.

Rep. Kevin Wallace (R), the chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, wants to authorize roulette and dice games as part of the Class III gaming compact. But tribes must forego "rebates" on car tag revenues in exchange for the new offerings, The Oklahoman and KFOR-TV reported.

Tribes can issue car tags to their citizens as part of their sovereign authority. The rates are typically lower than the ones charged by the state.

Some tribes that issue car tags have entered into agreements with the state to share revenues, or to receive a portion of the revenues back as rebates. Wallace's proposal apparently would affect those tribes but details as of Tuesday afternoon are still forthcoming.

In the past, some lawmakers in Oklahoma attempted to link non-gaming matters, such as tobacco taxes, to the Class III gaming compact. Historically, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has frowned upon such efforts, especially if they are seen as an attempt to extract more revenues from tribes.

Under the existing compact, which was authorized by voters in 2004, tribes have shared more than $1.1 billion with the state. In fiscal year 2016, the state collected more than $132 million, a record amount, according to the most recent annual report.

Read More on the Story:
Indian gaming expansion proposed by House budget chairman (The Oklahoman September 12, 2017)
Cigarette tax, tribal gaming changes: Oklahoma representative releases his plan to fix budget shortfall (KFOR-TV September 12, 2017)