Editorial: Shady deals at a tribal casino

Here’s a story that the mainstream media won’t report unless they are forced to – there is corruption in Oklahoma’s tribal casinos.

A casino owned and oprated by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes paid $1.2 million over 18 months to lease a two-acre parking lot. An investigation revealed that is about 10 times what the lease should have been.

A former director of gambling for the tribes has ties to a company that owned the lot. The tribes had agreed to pay part of the gross gambling revenues from the Lucky Star Casino in Clinton as part of the questionable lease.

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes will pay a $100,000 fine for misuse of tribal gambling revenues as part of their settlement with the National Indian Gaming Association. The former director until recently was chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association. He set up a lease in 2012 that would cost the Lucky Star Casino $25,000 a month plus 1 percent of the gross gambling revenues from the casino. They paid more than $50,000 a month for a parking lot in Clinton.

The investigation is not over.

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes cooperated with the National Indian Gaming Commission’s investigation.

Oklahoma has a gambling compact with the tribes and it is predicated on trust. With about 130 gambling operations operating in the state, it is inevitable that problems like this take place. This is what happens when gambling becomes the biggest industry in a state.