While casinos in many states across the United States took major losses during the economic downturn, tribal casinos in Oklahoma were heading in the opposite direction.
Thanks to the approval of a state question bill several years ago, Oklahoma tribes have expanded their casinos and upgraded their technology leading to profits of $3.1 billion in 2009, an increase of 7 percent over the previous year and second only to California.
The compacts have amounted to major profits for Oklahoma gaming tribes, but the state of Oklahoma has come out a big winner as well. In 2009, the state received whopping $113.7 million, which was an increase of 20 percent over the previous year. But the expansion by the Oklahoma tribes isn’t limited to just gambling.
A report issued last week by California economist Alan Meister indicated that 31 Oklahoma tribes with gambling facilities recorded $442 million in non-gambling revenue in 2009 from such other services including lodging, food and beverages.
Oklahoma is a unique example of a community that wholeheartedly embraced tribal gaming and continue to reap the benefits for doing so, even when times are tough.
Without question the approval rating should be high for the Oklahoma tribes, so what’s next? Could a foray into online gambling be a possibility, or is the kettle just too hot right now to push the online envelope?