by Fus Yvhikv
“Vegas says the odds are 50-1 in favor of the tribes” my friend Yahola blurted out. I had just
arrived at our favorite watering hole, The Recovery Room, located across the street from a
hospital. I hadn’t even taken my seat the bar next to him. Let alone ordered my nightly Sazerac.
“It’s good to see you too Yahola. What are you talking about?”
“The gaming compacts Fus” Yahola exclaimed as he hoisted his frosty beer mug. “Vegas has
established 50-1 betting odds that the tribes will prevail”. I burst out laughing at the irony that
Vegas is betting on betting. Only in Oklahoma I thought.
Yahola finished quaffing his pint. He slowly licked his lips, removing the last of the beer froth.
“Looks like Governor Stitt violated the 11 th Commandment” Yahola intoned. “The 11 th
Commandment”? I inquired. Yahola turned on his bar stool and looked me in the eye. “Yes, the 11 th Commandment; Thou Shalt Not Pick a Fight That Thee Cannot Win”. I sat momentarily
stunned at Yahola’s new found philosophical bent. It was so unlike him. Maybe it was the beer?
“Hold on Yahola. Governor has gone on record saying that he wants a deal that is beneficial to both the state of Oklahoma and the gaming industry. And he also said that the payments by the tribes to Oklahoma need to be more in line with what tribes across the nation pay”.
“That’s bullstitt!” cried Yahola. “Sheer unmitigated bullstitt!”. Yahola’s eyes were bulging like
Igor’s in Young Frankenstein. Suddenly Yahola notices that his beer mug is empty. He gets up, walks around the bar and pours his own beer from the draft dispenser. He returns to his seat with a faint smile on his face.
“Fus, that is like saying ‘you can have your commodity cheese and eat it too’”. I had to admit
that Yahola was right, in a rezzy kind of way. “This is nothing more than a money grab by the
Governor” Yahola went on. “A Governor elected on a platform of the virtues of a free market
economy and all of us working together as Oklahomans. But it doesn’t look like we will all be
holding hands and singing Kumbaya anytime soon”.
“But aren’t the tribes supposed to pay their fair share Yahola?” I asked. “The Governor says that tribes across the nation are paying way more than the 6%-10% that Oklahoma tribes are
paying”. Yahola angrily flung his empty beer mug into the stone fireplace. A fireplace that
hasn’t been functional since the Macarena dance craze inexplicably captured America.
“That’s bullstitt Fus!” Yahola screamed. “Many tribes across the fruited plain don’t pay
ANYTHING to the state government. Why? Because those state governments recognize the
economic impact of gaming and related businesses to the state economy. They show respect to the tribes as the drivers of job creation and economic activity. Especially in the hard-hit rural
areas. But all Stitt wants to do is shake down the Red Man”!
Hearing this, I had to admit that I had never thought of Fus as a particularly insightful man. Yet
it seemed that the more he drank the more insightful he became. I was astonished. And I didn’t realize that many tribes in the U.S. didn’t pay anything to the state government for the right to conduct gaming operations.
“I’m telling you it is bullstitt” Yahola continued. “The automatic renewal provisions of the
compacts have already been triggered”. “You sound like a legal expert Yahola” I said. Yahola
grinned widely and said “Well, I’m not a lawyer Fus but I did stay in a Holiday Inn last night, so
that is my expert opinion”. We shared a hearty laughter.
“But I am a gambler so I’m laying a big bet on the tribes” Yahola stated. “Fus, you being a
banker and finance guy you’ll probably want to short the stock of Gov. Stitt.”.