Oklahoma at a Glance
Gaming License: Yes
Non-Gaming License: Yes
Vendor License Exemptions Available: Yes
Temporary License: Yes
Ownership Disclosure Threshold: 5%
Institutional Investor Waiver: Yes
Fees: Contact
State Gaming Lab: Private
Term of License: At Least 2 Years
Deadline to Reapply: Contact
Political Contribution Restrictions: No

Oklahoma Tribal Gaming Supplier Regulatory Overview


Oklahoma currently only offers tribal gaming. The state does not license entities in relation to tribal gaming; all licensing occurs through the individual tribal gaming commission with which the entity is conducting business.1 According to the American Gaming Association’s 2011 State of the States, Oklahoma has a total of 107 tribal gaming establishments with tribes offering both Class II and Class III gaming. Of these tribes, 56 currently have gaming-related compacts with the state of Oklahoma for Class III, pari-mutuel, and/or off-track betting.2

Class II Gaming

Tribes offering Class II gaming, typically in the form of bingo, may establish gaming rules and regulations solely through their tribal gaming commission and without the intervention of the state.3 Class II gaming must, however, be in accordance with National Indian Gaming Commission (“NIGC”) rules and federal law.4

In connection with each tribe’s self-regulation of Class II gaming, the NIGC requires all gaming-related ordinances and regulations to be approved by the NIGC prior to their implementation.5

Although the NIGC has put forth rules regarding the licensure of key facility management personnel and the establishment of certain management contracts, the rules do not put forth a system for vendor or supplier licensing. These requirements are established solely by the tribe with the approval of the NIGC.

Class II gaming machines, however, must meet the technical standards required by 25 C.F.R. § 547 et seq.6 As a general point, Class II machines are “electronic, computer, or other technological aids” for the conduct of Class II games.7 For purposes of the Model Tribal Gaming Compact, “electronic bonanza style bingo games,” defined as games “played in an electronic environment in which some or all of the numbers or symbols are drawn or electronically determined before the electronic bingo cards for that game are sold,” are controlled by the compact and are not exclusively under the regulation of the tribal commission.8

Class III Gaming

Each tribe offering Class III games operates in accordance with an individual compact negotiated between the tribe and the state government. There are currently 33 tribes in Oklahoma that have executed a tribal gaming compact that authorizes Class III gaming.9 Oklahoma does, however, maintain a model compact with tribes operating Class III gaming equipment, the Model Tribal Gaming Compact. Consequently, compact provisions regarding licensing are rather uniform across all Oklahoma tribes offering these types of games.10 However, individual tribes may add additional considerations to the licensing process through their individual tribal government. The following information is taken from the model Oklahoma compact.

Entity Licensing

According to the Model Tribal Gaming Compact, those entities offering goods or services equal to or greater than $25,000 or “games, or parts, maintenance in connection therewith to the tribe or enterprise at any time or in any amount” must be licensed by the tribe.11

1. Duration and Fees

Licenses and license renewals are issued for a period of at least two years.12 Application and licensing fees are not specified under the model compact and, therefore, are established independently by the tribe.

In addition to the entity and principal requirements discussed above, the Model Tribal Gaming Compact states that if any entity “is to receive any fee or other payment based on the revenues or profits of the enterprise,” then the tribal gaming commission may take into account whether the payment arrangement is “fair in light of market conditions and practices” when reviewing a licensing application.13

2. Application

Entities must provide the following information and documentation to the tribal gaming commission in accordance with the tribal compact:

1. Whether the applicant has ever been convicted of any felony or gaming-related offense;
2. Whether the applicant has knowingly and willfully provided false material, statements, or information on his or her employment application; and
3. Whether the applicant is a person whose prior activities, criminal record, reputation, habits, or associations pose a threat to the public interest or to the effective regulation and control of the conduct of games, the business of gaming, or the financial arrangements related to gaming.14

Principal Licensing

Principals of a licensed entity must also submit to background investigations. Principals are defined as “with respect to any entity, its sole proprietor or any partner, trustee, beneficiary or shareholder holding five percent (5%) or more of its beneficial or controlling ownership, either directly or indirectly, or any officer, director, principal management employee, or key employee thereof.”15 Tribes may choose if a principal is licensed in his or her own name or the principal’s license is tied to the entity’s license.16

1. Duration and Fees

The Model Tribal Gaming Compact does not indicate a specific duration or fees associated with a principal licensing application. Therefore, each individual tribe may establish individual durations and fees associated with principal licenses.

2. Application

Principals must provide the following information and documentation in accordance with the Model Tribal Gaming Compact:

1. Identity information;
2. Social security number;
3. Date and place of birth;
4. Residential addresses, past five years;
5. Employment history, past five years;
6. Driver’s license number;
7. A list of all gaming licenses issued and details regarding any disciplinary charges filed in connection with gaming licenses;
8. All criminal arrests and proceedings, not including minor traffic offenses;
9. A set of fingerprints;
10. Current photograph; and
11. Military service history.17

Class III Gaming Machine Technical Requirements

Any game that is an “electronic bonanza-style bingo game, an electronic instant bingo game or an electronic amusement game” must first be certified by an independent testing laboratory and the tribal gaming commission prior to its being put into use.18 Specific technical standards are set out in the State-Tribal Gaming Act, and codified at Title 3A, Section 269 et seq. of the Oklahoma code, and include standards for user interfaces, interlinking, gaming terminals, and other items.
1See Oklahoma Office of State Finance Gaming Compliance Unit website, 'Frequently Asked Questions,'
2See Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission website, 'Compacts, Contracts, and Agreements,' ',_Contracts,_and Agreements/index.html#gaming.
3See 25 C.F.R. § 518 et seq.
4See 25 U.S.C. § 2704 et seq.
5See 25 C.F.R. § 522 et seq. Note that this section also applies to all Class III gaming regulations.
6For the language of this section, please follow the following link provided by the NIGC:
725 C.F.R. § 547.1.
8Oklahoma Model Tribal Gaming Compact, Pt. 3(11). See also Id. at Pt. 4(A).
9For a list of tribes maintaining a tribal gaming compact with the state, please refer to the list posted on the state’s Gaming Compliance Unit’s website at
10The Model Tribal Gaming Compact, in its entirety, is contained in the State-Tribal Gaming Act. See 3A O.S. § 281 et seq.
11Oklahoma Model Tribal Gaming Compact, Pt. 10(B)(1).
12Oklahoma Model Tribal Gaming Compact, Pt. 10(B)(5).
13Oklahoma Model Tribal Gaming Compact, Pt. 10(B)(8).
14Oklahoma Model Tribal Gaming Compact, Pt.10(A)(6). See also Id. at Pt. 10(B)(3).
15Oklahoma Model Tribal Gaming Compact, Pt. 3(21).
16Oklahoma Model Tribal Gaming Compact, Pt. 10(4).
17Oklahoma Model Tribal Gaming Compact, Pt. 10(A)(3)(a)-(k). See also Id. at Pt. 10(B)(3).
18Oklahoma Model Tribal Gaming Compact, Pt. 4(B).

Gaming industry advisor Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. authored this article. Visit the Gaming Advisors section of this website to find out more about gaming licensing and compliance advisors.