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Oklahoma tribal casinos contribute to record year in Indigenous gaming revenue

Steve Sawusch

The Oklahoma City and Tulsa regions of Indigenous gaming totaled $6.8 billion in revenue last year, putting more money back into the tribes, government programs and charitable organizations.

Tribal nations in Oklahoma made a record amount of gaming revenue last year.

In a 2023 report published by the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Oklahoma City region saw the second-highest revenue increase compared to seven other areas listed. This 2.1%increase was worth over $66 million.

Following closely behind was the Tulsa region, which saw a 2% increase of $71 million.

Both markets added to the total gross revenue listed in the report of $41.9 billion, which set a record in the Indigenous gaming industry.

Both regions are home to more than 149 operations and a total of $6.8 billion in revenue; however, they also dip into other states.

The Oklahoma City region includes Texas, while the Tulsa region also has Kansas.

In an annual report released by the Oklahoma Gaming Compliance Unit, tribal gaming exclusivity fees amounted to more than $202 million in 2023, a 5.6% increase from 2022.

The exclusivity fees' funding is dispersed to the Education Reform Revolving Fund, the General Revenue Fund and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

This OGCU report also found that exclusivity payments made by the tribal nations with compacts have continually risen year over year since 2005, except for two exceptions in 2014 and 2020.

Currently, 35 tribal nations in the state have gaming compacts.

In accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the net revenues earned by tribal nations operating casinos must be used for specific purposes, such as tribal programs that promote the welfare of the community, charity organizations and local governmental agencies.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

Liese is Diné and an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. She is passionate about heart-centered storytelling and works as an Indigenous Affairs reporter at KOSU. She joined the station in April 2024.
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