Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission prepares for ball-and-dice games
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission is working on regulations for ball-and-dice games that the Oklahoma government recently approved, and which should soon be available at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
Ball-and-dice games, such as craps and roulette, could be offered at the Hard Rock as soon as Aug. 2, and work is being done at other Cherokee casinos to allow them to feature the games.
Tribes were able to provide the games after Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 3375 into law on April 1o as a revenue-raising measure.
“Equipment has been ordered, and we are seeing training is being done with certain dealers at various locations. So things in preparation mode are going forward, so that we…will be ready to go,” CNGC Director Jamie Hummingbird said in the May 31 Rules Committee meeting.
Hummingbird also said the CNGC has worked on policies and procedures for the games since April in anticipation of Fallin signing the bill. He said the Hard Rock would be the first CN casino to offer the games, and the commission is working with other CN casinos to feature them.
Cherokee Nation Businesses officials said the goal is to have the games ready at the Hard Rock and at Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs on the state’s Aug. 2 start date. Also, on Aug. 2, roulette will be available at Cherokee Casino Roland and, craps will be available there later in the year. The two casinos, one in Delaware County and the other in Sequoyah County, are resort properties like the Hard Rock. CNB officials said dealers were undergoing more than 250 hours of training for the ball-and-dice games.
Tribal Councilors on June 11 passed a gaming compact supplement with the state to allow CN casinos to offer the Las Vegas-style table games.
Tribal Councilor Mike Shambaugh said it was important to pass the supplement.
“I think we have been progressive as a council in many different ways in how we support gaming. This could be a good way for more revenue, obviously. If other casinos are going to be doing it, we need to stay progressive, we need to do what it takes to be the best casino and give our casinos the best opportunity to succeed. I think this is a good step forward for doing this especially if the state is going to allow it. We need to take advantage of it,” he said.
In other gaming news, Hummingbird on May 31 gave councilors a report regarding the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a federal law banning commercial sports betting in most states. The ruling opens the door to legalize $150 billion in illegal wagers made by Americans on professional and amateur sports annually. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act prohibited states from authorizing sports gambling. However, the ruling will likely allow black market wagering to be done in the open and bets to be placed on mobile devices and computers.
Hummingbird said the ruling has thrown “everyone into kind of a tizzy” and no one knows what to expect. Four states have “active legislation” available to take “full advantage” of the lifted ban, and 17 other states are considering legislation.
“We don’t know if the federal government is going to take any action on this. The door was left open, if not encouraged, for Congress to take a look at now that PASPA was deemed unconstitutional,” he said. “With the stability of the (sports wagering) market, with the stability of the industry, Congress may not be enticed to act.”
He said in Oklahoma it would be some time before the Legislature could address sports wagering because legislators were out of session until Feb. 4.
“If a state does not already have legislation on the books or in the pipeline, such as Oklahoma, I think we would looking at about a year (before sports wagering could be allowed),” Hummingbird said.