Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Slot Machine Payouts in Oklahoma: No Minimum, No Public Reports

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Riverwind Casino in Norman, Okla.

Most states with casino gambling either mandate minimum slot machine returns or require the release of public information on payouts.

That’s not the case in Oklahoma and at least eight other states.

Oklahoma is among nine states without minimum payouts or any requirement that public reports be issued on casino payouts, reports the Tulsa World’s Wayne Greene.

Creek and Osage tribal officials did not respond to requests for payout data. A spokeswoman for the Cherokee Nation said the data was proprietary and wouldn’t be released.

Oklahoma’s casinos are all run by tribes, with rules established by gaming compacts. Casino revenues in Oklahoma could be leveling off, we reported earlier this month.

Requiring payout statistics was never considered in Oklahoma, former state Treasurer Scott Meacham, who negotiated Oklahoma’s compacts as an aide to former Gov. Brad Henry, told the Tulsa paper.

“Quite frankly, we felt, with as many tribal casinos as we had in Oklahoma, the market would force them into competitive payouts on their machines,” Meacham said.

Steve Bourie, author of the American Casino Guide, told the paper that competition does more to drive better casino payouts than state regulations.

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