Oklahoma second in nation for tribal gaming
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
3/06/12 at 7:10 AM
Indian gaming revenue in Oklahoma rose to $3.23 billion in 2010 and more tribal gaming facilities are planned for the state, according to an annual report that tracks Indian gaming nationally.
The reported gaming revenue figure for the state is equal to 2.4 percent of the state's reported gross domestic product for 2010.
Oklahoma Indian gaming facilities also earned another $457.4 million in nongaming revenue, according to the latest Indian Gaming Industry Report by Alan Meister, an economist with Nathan Associates Inc. The report was released Tuesday.
Nationally, Meister reports $26.7 billion in Indian gaming revenue and another $3.2 billion in nongaming revenue in 2010, meaning tribal facilities represent 44 percent of all U.S. casino gaming revenue.
Oklahoma is second only to California in Indian gaming. The two states account for 38 percent of all tribal gaming revenue in the nation.
Meister's report includes estimates that Indian gaming accounted nationally for 706,000 jobs, $29.2 billion in wages, $12.4 billion in tax revenue and another $1.5 billion in direct payments to governments.
Some other 2010 statistics from Meister's report:
While Oklahoma had more gaming facilities than any other state, Meister's report says many of the state's facilities were relatively small - travel centers, gas stations, convenience stores and smoke shops with gaming, instead of dedicated casinos.
- Thirty-three tribes have gaming facilities in Oklahoma, second in number only to California.
- Oklahoma has 113 Indian gaming facilities, more than any other state.
- Tribal facilities had 64,000 gaming machines in Oklahoma, second only to California.
- Tribal facilities had 804 table games in Oklahoma, third in the nation.
- Under the terms of gaming compacts, tribal facilities paid $122.7 million in revenue sharing and another $1.2 million in regulatory costs to the state in 2010.
Some 48 percent of the state's tribal gaming facilities had fewer than 300 gaming machines and 19 percent had fewer than 100, he reports.
Prior to 2005, Oklahoma tribes only offered Class II gaming such as pull tabs and bingo. Starting in 2005, tribes began offering certain Class III games, most dominantly gaming machines.
Gaming has had a "transformational impact" on tribes, allowing them to fund government operations, support social and economic programs and services, fund economic development efforts and finance the development of other tribal enterprises, Meister says.
Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker sounded a similar note in a prepared statement.
"Gaming dollars have allowed us to expand upon the services available to Cherokee citizens while putting our people to work," Baker said. "That money has helped provide more elders with eyeglasses and dentures, more classroom space for our children and more opportunities for our people to live, work and play near their families."
But not all of the effects of gaming are positive, said Wiley Harwell, executive director of the Oklahoma Association for Problem and Compulsive Gambling.
Bankruptcy, substance abuse, depression, domestic violence, crime and government costs for child welfare, health and mental health all rise with problem gambling, Harwell said.
A 1999 national impact study shows the people who live within 50 miles of a casino are twice as likely to have a pathological gambling problem, he said.
The number of problem gamblers Harwell's association helps didn't rise like gaming revenue did last year, Harwell said. The agency gets about 75 intake calls a month, he said.
That may be because much of the increased casino revenue in Oklahoma is coming from out of state, he said.
"If you observe license plates at those facilities, 70 to 80 percent of them are from out of state," Harwell said. "Northern Texas is contributing a huge amount of this $3.2 billion, a huge amount."
About 11,000 people have filled out paperwork to exclude themselves from Oklahoma gambling facilities, but many of those are also from outside the state, he said. On Monday, Harwell said he mailed out five requested self-exclusion forms and three of those went to addresses in Texas.
Meister's report shows there is only one open Indian casino in Texas, the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, operated by the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas in Eagle Pass, which is on the Mexican border.
The report shows that in 2010, nine tribal gaming facilities either opened or saw expansion in Oklahoma. Two facilities closed.
In 2011, six Indian gaming facilities opened or expanded in the state and two closed, the report shows.
Another 11 tribal gaming facilities in the state are under construction, expansion or have been announced, the report shows. Six other facilities are pending site approval by the BIA and another facility - the controversial Kialegee Tribal Town casino in Broken Arrow - is planned, but has not been determined to be eligible for gaming by the National Indian Gaming Commission.
For information on how to obtain a copy of the report, go to tulsaworld.com/casinocitypress.
Original Print Headline: Ca$hing in
Wayne Greene 918-581-8308
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