The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 3, 2009

Tribal casinos provide Oklahoma revenue boost

By Roger McKinney

State revenues in Oklahoma from American Indian tribes operating casinos increased by nearly 30 percent in fiscal year 2009, to $105.6 million.

The fiscal year 2008 total was $81.4 million. The figures are from the Oklahoma Office of State Finance.

Three of the seven tribes that operate Northeast Oklahoma casinos contributed to the increase. The others contributed less to the state than they did the previous fiscal year.

Under an agreement between the tribes and the state, the tribes provide 4 percent to 6 percent of revenues from electronic games and 10 percent of revenues from table games to the state, said Derek Campbell, gaming compliance head with the Office of State Finance. All the tribes are under the same agreement.

The fiscal year 2009 figures represent revenues earned by the tribes in June 2008 through May 2009 and reported to the state from July 2008 through June 2009.

The Seneca-Cayuga Tribe’s gaming revenues to the state in fiscal year 2009 totaled $581,370, a nearly 18 percent increase from $493,093 in FY 2008. The tribe owns Grand Lake Casino in Grove.

The Eastern Shawnee Tribe contributed $1,273,502 to state revenues in FY 2009, a 14 percent increase from $1,113,250 in FY 2008. The tribe owns Bordertown Casino, just west of Seneca, Mo.

The largest contributor to state coffers from Northeast Oklahoma was the Quapaw Tribe. Its revenues to the state from Downstream Casino Resort and Quapaw Casino totaled $4,467,968 during the fiscal year.

That’s a 148 percent increase from $282,869 in state revenues from the tribe in fiscal year 2008, but the figures aren’t really comparable, because Downstream Casino Resort didn’t open until the start of the current fiscal year.

Among tribes whose revenues to the state decreased for the fiscal year was the Peoria Tribe, which owns Buffalo Run Casino, Miami. The tribe’s contribution to the state was $546,007 in FY 2009, down 29 percent from $765,443 in FY 2008.

The Miami Tribe’s revenues to the state for the fiscal year totaled $341,971, a 13 percent decrease from $390,859 in FY 2008. The tribe owns The Stables Casino in Miami with the Modoc Tribe.

The Ottawa Tribe contributed $164,103 to the state in FY 2009 from its High Winds Casino in Miami. That’s 2 percent less than the $168,094 the tribe contributed to the state revenue in FY 2008.

The state reported revenues of $444,348 in FY 2009 from Wyandotte Nation, which owns Wyandotte Casino in Wyandotte. That’s a decrease of nearly 35 percent from $679,170 in the previous fiscal year.

Top contributors

The biggest contributors to state revenues among tribes operating casinos in fiscal year 2009 were the Chickasaw Nation, with state revenues totaling $28.7 million, and the Choctaw Nation, with state revenues of $21.5 million. Both tribes had increased their contributions to the state from the previous fiscal year.