Kevin Stitt suggested the existing compacts, which call for tribes to pay between 4% and 10% of a casino’s net revenue in “exclusivity fees,” should be reevaluated now that the gambling industry has matured in Oklahoma.
“In this case, that means sitting down with our tribal partners to discuss how to bring these 15-year-old compacts to an agreement that reflects market conditions for the gaming industry seen around the nation today,” wrote Stitt, who also is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.
Casino gambling is a booming industry in Oklahoma, with 130 casinos dotting the state, ranging from gas station annexes to resort-style hotel casinos, many of them in border communities, since voters approved a gambling expansion in 2004.
The Winstar World Casino in a rural part of the state’s Red River border with Texas includes massive hotel towers, more than a dozen restaurants and a 400,000-square-foot casino floor billed as the largest in the world.
Tour buses filled with gamblers from neighboring Texas routinely shuttle into the casino’s parking lot, which is packed with cars sporting Texas plates.
The exclusivity fees alone generated nearly $139 million for the state last year on roughly $2.3 billion in revenue from games covered under the compacts, which are scheduled to renew for another 15-year term in January.