When health officials identified Oregon’s third known victim of COVID-19 early last month as an adult who worked at the Wildhorse Resort & Casino near Pendleton, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation jumped into action.
With the $33 billion Indian gaming industry at a standstill in the midst of the worst public health crisis in decades, tribal casino operations are in danger of being left out of a major coronavirus relief program.
The Oklahoma governor’s actions have begun threatening the stability of tribal gaming, and thereby the revenue bases of tribal governments and the countless gaming industry jobs across the state that provide livelihoods to Oklahomans.
Instead of trying to throw out our successful gaming compacts so the state can increase its revenue on the backs of tribes, our state government and the citizens of Oklahoma would be better served by embracing tribes and their successes.
Since the Connecticut casinos opened more than two decades ago, they have contributed roughly $7 billion to the Connecticut Special Revenue Fund, as well as billions to the state economy and countless direct and indirect jobs.