- By Native News Online Staff
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) said on Monday that all of its tribal members have closed their casinos temporarily in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
“Nothing is of greater importance to the tribes than the health and well-being of the citizens of their Nations and the citizens of Oklahoma,” OIGA Chairman Matthew L. Morgan said in a statement. “We always want to be good neighbors and to lead by positive example. In making the decision to temporarily suspend our gaming operations, we are hopeful that we will have a positive impact on the health of Oklahomans.”
At the end of FY 2018, 31 tribes were operating 131 facilities in Oklahoma, offering Class III gaming related to the state-tribal gaming compacts. Collectively, the Oklahoma tribal casinos generate nearly $4.4 billion annually, according to the most recent Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry Report.
The OIGA says each tribe is a unique, independent sovereign nation, and all stand united under the common purpose of preserving public health.
Each sovereign Tribal Nation in Oklahoma has drafted its own COVID-19 response plans and protocols. The plans are available at https://oiga.org/news/covid-19/.