- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A recent report says that Oklahoma Indian gaming revenue increased more than $60 million in 2013, but the amount of tribal fees paid to the state has decreased by more than $3.1 million.

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1NAcDb8 ) reports the 2015 edition of Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry Report released Monday revealed the revenue disparity and notes that it may be due to the change in types of gaming machines found in Indian casinos.

Oklahoma tribes are required to pay the state exclusivity fees based on the amount of revenue they generate from operating Class III games like slot machines or roulette. The report noted the number of Class II games, which tribes do not have to pay state fees for, has increased from 34 percent in 2008 to 42 percent in 2013, while the percentage of Class III games has declined from 66 percent to 58 percent.

“This trend toward more Class II machines in recent years is interesting and its starting point (2009) coincides with the withdrawal of restrictive Class II gaming machine regulations that were originally proposed by the NIGC (National Indian Gaming Commission) in May 2006 and ultimately withdrawn in September 2008,” the report by economist Alan Meister noted.

Mesiter told the paper that not having to pay exclusivity fees may be just one factor in the economic considerations that tribes make when changing from Class III to Class II games.



Choctaw Nation spokeswoman Judy Allen said her tribe likes to offer a variety of games to its customers so there has always been a mix of Class II and Class III games in their casinos.

The report said revenue reached nearly $3.8 billion in 2013, but the state’s fee revenue dropped from $127.8 million in 2012 to $124.7 million in 2013, providing less money for education, mental health services and general operations.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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