The positive impact of Tribal casinos resonates across Oklahoma, the American Gaming Association acknowledged on a visit Wednesday to the Cherokee Nation-owned Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Catoosa.
Bill Miller, CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), was in Oklahoma — the second-largest gaming state in the country — to meet with business leaders, legislators and the public about how this industry engages and supports area small businesses and provides critical jobs.
During the Hard Rock event, Miller underscored how the gaming industry has benefited small businesses: “9.8 billion dollars in economic impact in the state this is an extraordinary amount of money that is spread out in salaries in economic impact from small businesses,” said Miller, reported Newson6.
According to AGA’s Casinos & Communities report, more than 140 Tribal and commercial casinos in Oklahoma have provided $4.3 billion in wages and more than $1.7 billion in taxes and Tribal revenue share payments, while supporting 75,000 jobs.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker shared that his Tribe pursued gaming to improve the lives of Tribal citizens, and gaming has empowered the Tribe to build the largest Native American Clinic in America.
The 469,000-square-feet clinic will create “another 850 jobs for better access for our people, and we couldn’t have done it without gaming dollars,” he said.
Miller echoed that sentiment, in an op-ed for NewsOK published February 21: “For nearly three decades, Oklahoma’s casino gaming industry has been a reliable small-business incubator, innovation mechanism and community partner, all wrapped into one.”
Miller added that “what is unique to Oklahoma is the leadership of Tribal governments. The Chickasaw, Choctaw and Cherokee Nations have invested in their communities to build landmark destinations and properties that attract visitors from all over the world.”