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US – New gaming compact will see six new casinos in Oklahoma

By - 23 April 2020

The new gaming compacts in Oklahoma could see six new casinos built in the state.

Leaders of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Comanche Nation confirmed the new compacts signed with the State of Oklahoma would allow them to build three new casinos each. For Comanche, one site is near Will Rogers International Airport in Oklahoma City, the second is in Chickasha, along Interstate 44, and the third is located on the Texas border along Interstate 35. For Otoe, one site will be near Edmond and Guthrie on I-35 and two additional casinos will be located at points further north along I-35.

Despite the signing, the tribes maintain their legal position that gaming compacts in Oklahoma automatically renew – a stance that is reflected in a lawsuit that both tribes, and a handful of other tribes, filed against the state and Gov. Kevin Stitt.

While some tribes have characterised the Comanche and Otoe-Missouria’s action as disloyal, their leaders disagree. Robert Rosette, an attorney who represents both tribes, said their decision to withdraw from the lawsuit was only logical because the newly signed compacts marked a significant step forward for the tribes. The new agreement will reduce the amount of revenue the tribes must pay the state – from six to 4.5 per cent annually — and permit the tribes to provide full-blown Class lll gaming, elevating the customer experience considerably.

Under Class lll gaming, the tribes will be able to operate sportsbooks. With that new authority, their casinos will no longer require patrons to pay an “ante” to play a hand of blackjack, and customers will be able to place a bet on the Dallas Cowboys – or other sports teams – on a Sunday afternoon.

Rosette said these types of new games will provide both tribes with a competitive advantage over all other tribes in their respective market areas.

If any of these casino locations receives requisite federal approval, the tribes will exponentially increase their gaming revenues, allowing them to significantly boost funding that is badly needed to provide essential government services to their respective tribal memberships.

“The bottom line is that the tribes signed compacts that are much better than their old gaming compacts, and they did so to improve the economic prospects of their people,” Rosette said. “While the tribes continue to stand in unity with all Oklahoma tribes in asserting that the old compacts automatically renew, they chose the path that is best for their tribal members.”

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