Oklahoma governor hopes to renegotiate tribal gaming compacts

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OKLAHOMA – Governor Kevin Stitt is hoping to renogotiate tribal gaming compacts in the Sooner State.

The state is currently in a compact with all federally recognized tribes to receive tax dollars from casinos. The percentage Oklahoma currently gets is four percent and can go as high as six percent, which was last approved in 2004. But now that gaming has gotten more popular in the state, the governor would like to see that increased.

They’re called exclusivity fees and last year, they generated $139 million for Oklahoma.

The agreement expires in January and the governor would like to increase those fees for a 15 year term. But, many tribes across the state are not in favor of the raising the exclusivity fee.

“We have now over 10 casinos in a 25 mile radius and you have more than 39,000 people in the county so it’s highly competitive. We’ve watched our revenues slowly go down over the years. We feel like we give the state a lot of money a billion dollar impact upon the economy of Oklahoma each year.”

Billy Friend, Wyandotte Nation Chief

Oklahoma’s exclusivity fees are currently among the lowest in the nation. Others states collect around 20 to 25 percent.

Oklahoma state leaders and tribal officials are set to meet in an attempt to reach an agreement on the issue.

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