Coronavirus blamed for drop in Oklahoma tribal gaming fees

Oklahoma

Gladys Whittington, left, and Sandy Christian, right, play at a gaming machine at Lucky Star Casino Friday, May 15, 2020, as Lucky Star Casino reopens after a temporary shutdown due to coronavirus concerns, in Concho, Okla. Employees are required to wear facial coverings while facial coverings are encouraged for casino guests. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Tribal gaming officials are blaming the closure of Oklahoma casinos due to the coronavirus pandemic for a drop of nearly $30 million in fees paid to the state.

The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association on Monday said the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services reported payments totaling nearly $123 million during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

That’s down from nearly $150 million the previous year.

Monthly payments fell from $12.2 million in February to less than $21,000 in March when tribes closed casinos in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus.

Casinos began reopening in May.

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