CN pays state $19M in gaming fees
TAHLEQUAH – At a recent Rules Committee meeting, Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission Director Jamie Hummingbird told Tribal Councilors that the CN paid the state more than $19 million in gaming compact fees for calendar year 2017.
“This year, in 2017, is the highest amount that we paid under our compact,” Hummingbird said. “We paid just a little over $19 million surpassing last year I think by about $800,000.”
Hummingbird said, since the 2005 compact agreement, the CN has paid more than $207 million in fees to the state.
“Under the terms of the tribal-state compact, the state of Oklahoma receives a percentage of revenues from the play of covered games, whether electronic gaming machines or card and table games,” he said. “Statewide, tribes have collectively paid over $1.3 billion to state in compact payments.”
He said tribes have paid the state an average of $129 million per year during the previous five years and more than $133 million in 2017 alone.
“Tribes have not only met the expectation, but have exceeded it by over $50 million each year,” Hummingbird said.
According to the state-tribal gaming compacts, compacted tribes pay monthly exclusivity fees to the state for the exclusive right to operate compacted gaming. Those compacts state that fees for electronic covered games are calculated at 4 percent for the first $10 million of annual adjusted gross revenue, 5 percent for the next $10 million of AGR and 6 percent of AGR over $20 million. For table games, the state collects 10 percent of the monthly net win.
According to gaming compacts, fee payments are made to the state treasurer with their allocations going to no particular state purpose, but where the state deems necessary.
Hummingbird said the tribe is also responsible for submitting fees to the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission.
“Due to its proximity to horse racing tracks licensed by the…OHRC, and under the terms of the State Gaming Act, of which the model compact is a part, the Cherokee Nation is also responsible for submitting fees to the OHRC and to the Fair Meadows horse track in Tulsa, a responsibility shared with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the Osage Nation,” Hummingbird said.
He said tribal law states the CN receives 37 percent of net profits in the form of dividends from gaming facilities.
“These funds are then allocated by administration and Tribal Council for various programs including, but not limited to, housing, education and health,” he said.
The current 15-year compact expires on Jan. 1, 2020. However, Hummingbird said the agreement automatically renews if it’s not mutually dissolved by the state and CN.