Oklahoma’s Indian gaming business paid a report $167 million in exclusivity charges to the state during the last fiscal 12 months.
“The Indian gaming business makes up a small a part of the whole Oklahoma finances,” mentioned Matthew Morgan, chairman of Oklahoma Indian Gaming Affiliation. “Indian tribes, although, make up a big portion of financial exercise in Oklahoma, particularly within the rural components of Oklahoma that generally wrestle with their financial improvement.”
The state’s 132 Indian gaming institutions had been shuttered inside days of one another in March 2020 because the severity of the coronavirus pandemic started to set in. Federal stimulus funds had been important to serving to them reopen and keep afloat, however the services did their half as effectively.
“The gaming business in Oklahoma, the tribal governmental gaming business has been sturdy for many years now in Oklahoma,” Morgan mentioned. “Via the pandemic, I believe the tribal leaders and operators, regulatory our bodies working along with their well being methods put collectively a strong reopening plan that patrons felt very snug with. That’s proven via the numbers on the exclusivity charges that had been despatched to the state.”
The whole of exclusivity charges paid to the state within the final fiscal 12 months, through the peak of the pandemic, far exceeded the earlier report of $148 million.
“I believe quite a lot of that although is credit score to the tribes and their operations,” Morgan mentioned. “However you even have to recollect Oklahoma is a state of solely 4 million individuals so it additionally reveals the out-of-state guests that the tribes are pulling into Oklahoma to frequent their properties. That in all probability makes up a big portion of their numbers.”
Oklahoma’s gaming business falls behind Las Vegas and California.
“So tribes, basically, are essential to the financial system of the state of Oklahoma,” Morgan mentioned. “As tribes are doing effectively, the state does effectively. In a approach, they’re tied on the hip.”