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Get to Know Gaming: Oklahoma City, OK

Tribal Gaming has Transformed Oklahoma's Economy and Uplifted its Communities
events

Get to Know Gaming: Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City, OK
Industry Events
Industry Events.
October 17, 2017

The American Gaming Association (AGA) hosted state legislators, tribal gaming representatives, and local business leaders in downtown Oklahoma City, OK to review how tribal gaming has transformed the Sooner State.

The event was held in conjunction with the release of the AGA’s report, The Economic Impact of Tribal Gaming: A First-Ever State-by-State Analysis, which found that tribal gaming generates more than $33 billion in employee wages nationwide and supports 35,000 full time jobs. A second iteration of the report, released by the AGA the following year, found that those figures had increased to $36 billion and 676,000 respectively.

Regarding gaming’s impact on Oklahoma, Russell Evans, Executive Director at the Stevens C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute, introduced the day’s discussion by commenting, “[gaming] is a significant driver of economic activity, particularly in areas of the state where economic activity and economic opportunity is difficult to find right now.”

Tribal Gaming's 2016 Impact
$105.4 billion in economic output
$676,428 jobs supported
$36.2 billion in supported wages
$15.2 billion in taxes and revenue sharing

U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) commented that, because of gaming, Oklahoma’s tribes are his district’s largest employer. He added that “at the same time, [tribes] are filling a role in our schools that our state is not able to do right now,” detailing how tribes use funds from gaming to go beyond what is required of them by the state by funding essentials like school busses, safe roads, and back-to-school school clothes for children. He continued, “All across our state, and all across our district, because of gaming you’re seeing the [tribal] impact in our communities…I didn’t understand how much they were investing in our communities until I got in office.”

U.S. Representative Tom Cole (OK-04) endorsed Mullin’s sentiments, remarking, tribal gaming creates “real jobs for real Oklahomans, and usually in places where there weren’t jobs before.” He also noted that because the jobs are rooted in Oklahoma’s tribes, they will not be exported internationally or across state lines, meaning Oklahoma will derive the benefits of tribal reinvestment in the state “indefinitely.” Tribal gaming’s reinvestment in Oklahoma, Cole said, “strengthens every institution in the state.”

Richard Faught, Director of Sales at Orion Security Solutions, spoke to tribal gaming’s impact on Oklahoma’s small businesses, commenting, “it’s really been a blessing for us, all the business that we’ve been allowed to gather from local gaming.” Orion’s relationships with tribal casinos got the company off the ground in 2008, catalyzing its evolution into a nationwide security operation, Faught explained. He concluded by affirming that “[tribal gaming] will continue to be at the core of [Orion’s] business.”

Additional panelists included Matthew Morgan, Director of Gaming Affairs, Chickasaw Nation; Sheila Morago, Executive Director, Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association; Mark Fulton, Chief Operating Officer, Cherokee Nation Entertainment; and Geoff Freeman, president and CEO, American Gaming Association.

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