Representatives from the 35 casino-operating tribes in Oklahoma are reportedly set to meet with senior state officials in an attempt to find a way through the dispute concerning attempts to increase the tax rates contained in their gaming compacts.
According to a Friday report from the Associated Press news service published by US News and World Report, the tribes are dismayed by moves from Oklahoma Governor, Kevin Stitt, to collect a bigger piece of the estimated $2.3 billion their casinos earn every year by inserting a higher range of exclusivity taxes into new gaming compacts set to replace earlier 15-year agreements expiring in January.
The news service reported that exclusivity fees involve the tribes paying taxes accessed at between 4% and 10% of a venue’s overall gambling revenues in exchange for an assurance from the southern state that it will not legalize commercial casinos. Oklahoma is home to approximately 120 aboriginal gaming establishments but Stitt, who began his four-year term in January, is purportedly unhappy that it collected only about $139 million in such duties last year and would like to raise these levies so as to bring in more public funds.
The Associated Press reported that leaders from some of the state’s casino-operating tribes including the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma are now due to kick off their discussions concerning the differing interpretations of their gaming compacts by meeting with Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter on October 28.
Greg Chilcoat, Chief for the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, reportedly told the news service that he is hoping the entire matter is ‘just a simple misunderstanding’ that can now be resolved via ‘fair and open communication’ between the tribes and governmental entities.
In the meantime and Oklahoma’s casino-operating tribes have reportedly initiated an extensive television and newspaper advertising campaign that has been designed to inform the public about the millions of dollars they spend every year on transportation, education and health care projects that benefit the state’s entire population.