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NIGC drops plan to redefine Class II gambling machines

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September 29, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY - The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has formally withdrawn a plan to redefine Class II gambling machines, and tribes throughout Oklahoma have hailed the decision. Tribal leaders had predicted the proposed regulations would have crippled the states gaming industry.

"This was a serious threat to the economy, not just for Indian country, but for Oklahoma as a whole," said David Qualls, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association.

The NIGC had said advances in technology had blurred the line between Class II machines and Class III slot machines. Class II gambling is played against other players, and Oklahoma tribes do not pay fees to the state.. Class III gambling is played against the house, and tribes pay 4%-6% of revenues to the state..

Oklahoma received $71.6 million in fees from tribes in 2007 and is forecasting to receive $87.2 million this year.

Many casino officials feared that the new federal definitions would have been so restrictive as to outlaw virtually every Class II machine now operating in the state.

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