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December 1, 2022 Casino, Tribal, Legal

Wyoming lawmakers working with Northern Arapaho Tribe on gaming proposal

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Details of the law include a proposal to use gambling revenue to help fund K-12 schools.

State lawmakers in Wyoming are continuing deliberations on a proposal from the Northern Arapaho Tribe that was submitted in response to a state-wide request for K-12 funding strategies.

The Northern Arapaho Tribe requested to develop Class III gaming on state-owned school trust land, to generate new revenue for public education in the state. 

The request for strategies came from the 2022 Management Council which asked the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee to "solicit and investigate ideas for sustainable, long-term revenue sources for K-12 education."

Wyoming Representative Steve Harshman said: "The directive was to try to look for new revenue sources of $50m per year or more. So, (we’re) looking at some maybe really large ideas."

Travis McNiven, a representative of the Northern Arapaho Business Council stated that a few Class III gaming locations would meet the committee's goal.

He went on to describe four ways that the proposal would raise revenue for K-12 funding in Wyoming including revenue from leasing state-owned school trust land and the revenue from gaming operations. 

McNiven added: "The revenue (that goes to the Tribe) would certainly stay in Wyoming, and central Wyoming – Fremont and Natrona counties – would certainly see a great deal of that revenue be spent…instead of the project owners’ revenues leaving the state.

"By working with the Northern Arapaho Business Council … all of that would stay in the state (and) be turned over in Wyoming’s economy as well through all those funds staying in the state and then being spent on additional projects and businesses."

He added that the gaming facilities would fall under state authority and be separate from the Tribe's operations on the Wind River Indian Reservation, which are regulated by the National Indian Gaming Commission. 

A bill is expected to be introduced at the next legislative session on January 10.

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