New, higher gaming revenue payments to tribal members begin May 20. CUJ | STOCK PHOTO

CTUIR member dividend payments increase  


MISSION – Tribal members will see a larger quarterly revenue sharing payment this month. May payments will be calculated using the new formula approved by Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) leaders last year.

Tribal officials told the Board of Trustees (BOT) on May 6 that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) had finally responded to the BOT approved changes to how much casino revenue is shared with tribal members.   

Since the previous Gaming Revenue Allocation Plan (GRAP) had required BIA approval, applying the changes was delayed while officials waited for guidance from the federal government – forcing the tribe to send out the year’s first quarterly payments using the old taxable gaming per capita formula.

The first payments using the amended GRAP are scheduled for May 20.

Officials learned that the BIA approved the amended formula in a recent letter, Dan Hester, an attorney who represents the tribe, told BOT members during their Monday meeting.

Technically, he said, the federal agency determined that the tribe’s plan didn’t require their approval because payments would now be classified as general welfare benefits and not as per capita gaming distributions. Per capita plans, and amendments to them, must be federally approved.

The update also came on the same day the BOT approved a resolution making changes involving the tribe’s minor and protected person trust.

“The timing of this resolution couldn’t be better,” Hester said.

For tribal members, the news means more Wildhorse Resort & Casino revenue will begin flowing to them through quarterly payments beginning with May’s distribution.

The percentage of net Wildhorse revenue shared with tribal members will increase from 20% to up to 25%. Payments made to minors’ parents or guardians will also jump from $125 to $250 per quarter.

Payments will be further inflated because they’ll be untaxed, thanks to the change from a taxable gaming per capita classification to a tax-exempt general welfare benefit model.