Tribal Economic Impact 2018 - Page 20

Industry officials ready to roll the dice in Oklahoma BY BRIAN BRUS THE JOURNAL RECORD OKLAHOMA CITY – The companies that make equipment used in Oklahoma’s casinos have been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to move new dice-and- ball table game products into the state, representatives said. “We will be entering the market and are very optimistic about bringing incremental value to the state based on the initial results of the products we currently have installed,” said John Connelly, CEO of Interblock Gaming, based in Las Vegas. “With this legislation, we’re obviously very excited about being able to expand our product offerings to the casinos in Oklahoma,” he said. The recent legalization of craps and roulette in Oklahoma, which have been illegal since 2004, is a victory for the casinos and the companies that supply them. Before House Bill 3375 was signed into law, tribal gaming centers worked around the limitation by using the electronic equivalent of cards dressed up with video to give the illusion of dice being tossed and wheels being spun. HB 3375 allows the real thing, something gamblers can hold in their hands. Long-standing compacts with the tribes allow them to operate some Class III games in Oklahoma by paying exclusivity fees to the state. According to the Office of State Finance 2 0 T R I B A L E C O N O M I C I M PA C T • J U LY 2 0 1 8 gaming compliance unit, for the 2016-2017 fiscal year those fees produced about $134 million. Tribes involved in gambling have made more than $2 billion annually from Class III games. The addition of normal roulette and craps is projected to produce another $22 million in fees to the state. There will be another small tax spike as well: Any new equipment purchased will generate sales or use tax. However, industry representatives contacted by The Journal Record were tight-lipped about the costs of new casino equipment and how much tribal companies might spend to make the transition. Interblock is a member of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers international trade group, as is TCS John