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Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant. Photo courtesy Flickr user brad_holt.

The Roundup

Gambling on the Rise in Oklahoma

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Posted 07.02.12

Gambling is on the rise in Oklahoma, according to a new report released in Casino City’s North American Gaming Almanac. The activity accounts for 2.33 percent of the state’s economy, the Associated Press reported. In 2007, it represented 1.9 percent. Oklahoma’s gambling revenue ranks ninth in the U.S., and in only three states— Nevada, Mississippi and Vermont—does gambling provide a bigger piece of the gross domestic product than in Oklahoma.

“Oklahoma gambling revenue totaled $210 million in 2010 with $99.8 million from casinos and $93.1 million through the Oklahoma lottery,” the AP reported. “The rest was at the state’s racetracks.

“Oklahoma ranked third in per-capita gambling revenue with $914.”

The 2010 gambling report was essentially flat in the state – 0.13 percent lower – compared to 2009 levels. Casino revenue was up 6 percent. Lottery revenues were down nearly 3 percent and racing revenue was off more than 15 percent.

2010 marked the first year that more money was spent in Oklahoma casinos than on the lottery. Oklahoma had 64,198 gaming machines – including 25,874 slot machines and 37,974 video gaming machines – at 111 casinos and two racinos in 2010, the report shows.

But while gaming is up in Oklahoma, it appears to be declining nationally. Moody’s Investors Service reported last week that “cautious consumers” appear to be stepping away from casinos. “Momentum began to slow in March, and then in May most jurisdictions reported outright declines in gaming revenue,” Moody’s reported. “That, along with weakness in consumer confidence, employment and retail sales, indicates the rebound in gaming has a high probability of stalling.”

Unlike in Oklahoma, new casinos in other markets—Atlantic City, Chicago—seem to be detracting from other, established venues instead of “expanding gaming demand.” However, the market in Nevada seems to be holding up just fine, Moody’s reported.

Five Oklahoma casinos rank among the nation’s largest 100, according to Casino City’s report. The state’s largest casino, WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, a Love County town that sits just north of the Texas border, is also the third largest in the country, boasting 6,200 machines.

The AP ranked Oklahoma’s largest casinos:

Oklahoma’s five largest casinos: (total gaming machines, 2010)

1. WinStar World Casino (Chickasaw Nation), Thackerville – 6,200 machines

2. Choctaw Casino Resort (Choctaw Nation), Durant – 3,001 machines

3. River Spirit Casino (Creek Nation), Tulsa – 2,780 machines

4. Riverwind Casino (Chickasaw Nation), Norman – 2,700 machines

5. Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (Cherokee Nation), Catoosa – 2,129 machines

Source: Casino City’s North American Gaming Almanac

Holly Wall, News Editor