BOT approves amendment to compact with State of Oregon

MISSION – The Board of Trustees (BOT) on May 18 approved an amendment to its gaming compact with the state that allows the Tribes to waive its obligation to fund the Wildhorse Foundation, according to a CTUIR press release.

The move came as a result of Wildhorse Resort & Casino’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenues are expected to be significantly lower in 2020 because the resort and casino was closed from mid-March until late May.

Under the current Compact, which was approved in 2008 by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), the State of Oregon and the Secretary of Interior, a percentage of the casino’s net gaming revenue was allocated to the Wildhorse Foundation for distribution to local government and charitable entities within four Oregon counties (Umatilla, Union, Morrow and Wallowa), the CTUIR ceded territory in Washington, which includes Tri-Cities and Walla Walla, and to Native American organizations.

To date, the Wildhorse Foundation has issued grants totaling more than $13 million to regional organizations.

Under the Compact amendment, the Wildhorse Foundation contributions will be paid into the Tribal Contingency Fund if funds are available for such payments.

The Tribes rely on Wildhorse revenues to support Tribal government programs and services to the residents of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

A temporary waiver of the Tribes’ obligation to contribute to the community benefit fund for the year of 2020 would allow the Tribes to use those funds to offset the reduction of revenue and support Tribal government programs and services.

The Tribal Gaming Commission adopted a Resolution recommending Board of Trustees approval of Compact Amendment II. The amendment will be sent to Salem for approval by Governor Kate Brown and then to the Secretary of Interior for approval as required by federal law.