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Quapaw Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. Native News Online photograph by Levi Rickert

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/.

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Author: Native News Online Staff