Tribal gaming revenue in the Oklahoma City region outpaced the Tulsa region in both growth rate and total revenues in fiscal 2018, according to a report released Thursday from the National Indian Gaming Commission.
Gaming revenue in the Oklahoma City region grew by 7.3% to $2,479,814,000 during fiscal 2018, compared to the prior year, the NIGC reported.
Tribal gaming revenue in the Tulsa region grew by 3.1% during the same time period to $2,466,359,000.
The Oklahoma City region includes the western half of the state and Texas; the Tulsa region includes the eastern half of the state and Kansas.
Nationwide, gross gaming revenue for tribal gaming facilities increased 4.1% to $33.7 billion in fiscal 2018, which was the highest revenue total in Indian gaming history, according to the NIGC.
Gross gaming revenue is based on the amount wagered minus winnings returned to players.
“These numbers reaffirm the industry’s health as a stable economic driver for Indian Country,” Kathryn Isom-Clause, vice chairwoman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, said in a written statement.
The fiscal 2018 Oklahoma City region growth rate was second in the nation among the eight NIGC regions.
The Portland region, which includes Alaska, Idaho, Washington and Oregon, ranked No. 1 in growth in fiscal 2018 with an 8.2% increase, according to the report.
The Sacramento, California, region was No. 1 in gross revenues, with tribes there collecting $9.3 billion in fiscal 2018.
The Tulsa regional growth rate was the lowest in at least three years. Revenue for the Tulsa region grew by 4.2% in fiscal 2017 and 4% in fiscal 2016.
Matthew Morgan, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, said the report reflects that the Oklahoma tribal gaming is a “healthy market and is doing well.”
“I think we do a great job, and we have a good product that our patrons like to partake of when they are choosing how to spend their entertainment dollars,” Morgan said.
Revenues were calculated based on 501 independently audited financial statements, comprising 241 federally recognized tribes across 29 states.
In Oklahoma, tribes operate a combined 130 gaming facilities, according to the OIGA.
Asked why the Oklahoma City region fared better in 2018, Morgan said he suspects it may be attributed at least in part to gaming facilities along the Oklahoma-Texas border.
“If you look at some of those facilities along the Red River and the tourists that it brings in, the dollars that it brings in from out of state that wouldn’t otherwise be frequenting and bringing in to Oklahoma, I think that’s probably a lot of it,” Morgan said of the larger increase in the Oklahoma City region.
Almost 45.9 million visits to Oklahoma tribal gaming facilities occurred in 2015, including 18.7 million visits from out-of-state residents, according to the most recent data from the OIGA.