In 2004, Oklahoma voters approved SQ 712, which set up a model compact between the state and Native American tribes to regulate tribal gaming operations. Under the compact, tribes were authorized to operate specified games in return for making exclusivity payments to the state. The compacts were signed for a 15-year period. Although Governor Kevin Stitt claimed that the compacts expired at the end of the initial 15-year term in 2019, a federal judge in 2020 ruled that the compacts automatically renewed for another 15 years. In addition, compacts that the Governor signed in 2020 with several tribes were struck down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
The tribal gaming compact provides for the state to receive a share of gaming revenues generated by the compacting tribes from Class III games. The state’s share of adjusted gross revenues from electronic games begins at 4 percent and rises to 6 percent once a tribe’s revenue exceeds $20 million. For table games, and for ball and dice games that were authorized as of 2018, the fee is 10 percent.
After an initial $250,000 is allocated to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for gambling education and treatment, 88 percent of gaming revenues go to the 1017 Education Reform Fund, which can be appropriated only to the Department of Common Education, and 12 percent to the General Revenue Fund.
In FY 2021, a total of 33 tribes were operating 133 facilities offering Class III games. Tribal revenue from Class III games and table games was $2.74 billion, of which tribes paid $163.0 million to the state, an all-time high. Over two-thirds of gaming revenue was generated by just four tribes – the Chickasaw Nation, Choctaw Nation, Cherokee Nation, and Muskogee (Creek) Nation. Gaming revenues increased by $39.4 million, or 32 percent, compared to FY 2020, when gaming activity was limited for several months by Covid-19.