July 10, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Sheila Morago, OIGA Executive Director
Sheila.Morago@OIGA.org or (405) 818-7462
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Chairman Matthew L. Morgan, Esq, Offers Clarification in Response to Governor Stitt’s Recent Op-Ed Published in the Tulsa World Regarding Tribal Governmental Gaming and Compacts
Oklahoma City – In the last 15 years, Oklahoma tribal governments have paid more than $1.5 billion in exclusivity fees to the budget of the State of Oklahoma; have provided some 75,885 jobs, primarily to citizens in rural Oklahoma, which translates into some $4.3 billion in wages; have brought tens of thousands of tourists to Oklahoma and have created more than a $9.5 billion economic impact in the State of Oklahoma.
When the citizens of the state of Oklahoma voted in November of 2004 to offer a model gaming compact to Oklahoma tribes, it was estimated to supplement the state’s education budget by $70 million per year. While it took a little while (1.5 years) to reach that initial, estimated amount, tribal governments have upheld their end of those projections, experiencing steady increases. Estimated exclusivity fees are projected to be in excess of $145 million this year.
In a recent op-ed published in the Tulsa World, Gov. Kevin Stitt opened the discussion of a subject that may seem foreign to many Oklahomans: the upcoming negotiations of the compact (or contract) offered by the citizens of Oklahoma and accepted by numerous tribal governments, which granted tribes “substantial exclusivity” to limited Class III forms of gaming within Oklahoma in exchange for a percentage of revenue paid to the State by the Tribes. Each one of these compacts was approved in accordance with federal law by the United States government
Gov. Stitt wrote that Oklahoma’s tribal gaming industry got its start with the passage of State Question 712 in 2004. Indeed, that measure passed by 59 percent, however tribal gaming in Oklahoma as we know it now began some 15 years prior to that, following the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, now 31 years old.