Patrons at the Cherokee Nation gaming facility in Siloam Springs, Oklahoma. Photo: Carol Von Canon

Proposal for more games at tribal casinos generates little support in Oklahoma

A proposal to bring more types of games to tribal casinos seems to be going nowhere in Oklahoma.

Rep. Kevin Wallace (R), the chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, suggested tribes could add craps and roulette to their casinos. But he said they must give up their car tag revenues in exchange for the new Class III games.

The idea is so controversial that a spokesperson for the Cherokee Nation wouldn't even comment on a hypothetical expansion of gaming with The Tahlequah Daily Press. The tribe is the largest in the state in terms of citizenship and already shares car tag revenues with the local community.

The proposal also failed to generate interest among lawmakers. It never came up during the Oklahoma Legislature's recent special session, which adjourned after just three days last week due to disagreement tied to another controversial issue, that of cigarette taxes, The Oklahoman reported.

In the past, lawmakers have attempted to link non-gaming matters, such as tobacco taxes, to the Class III compact in Oklahoma. 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 agreement, 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.

The first compacts that were signed and approved by the BIA are due to expire in 2020.

Read More on the Story:
Expanded casino gaming highly unlikely (The Tahlequah Daily Press October 4, 2017)

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