Interesting reading from Oklahoma, where Gov. Kevin Stitt believes a 15-year compact with Indian tribes to operate casinos comes to an end this year. The tribes differ with the governor’s interpretation of the law.
Commercial casino operators have reportedly told the governor they’d love to step in — and they say they’d pay an 18 percent tax on casino gambling — if a deal isn’t struck with Indian tribes, which operate 141 casinos.
Voter-approved compacts give Indians exclusive rights. They pay from 4 to 10 percent of revenue as a privilege tax. (By way of comparison, the casino expansion amendment in Arkansas puts the gambling tax at 13 percent, which was a big cut on the 18 percent rate that had existed for existing casinos at Oaklawn and Southland. It is even less of a state and local government moneymaker because shares are dedicated to racetrack purse funds at the dog and horse tracks.)
The Oklahoma governor is obviously seeking a bigger payment from the tribes. Negotiations have broken down.