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The fees that the Quapaw tribe paid Oklahoma for its two casinos, including the Downstream Casino Resort, dropped by $270,240 in 2014, or about 4.4 percent, from the $6.1 million the tribe paid in 2013, according to an annual report from state regulators. Casino oklahoma.

That drop is mirrored by a statewide drop in fees of nearly $5.5 million paid by the 32 tribes that operate casinos in the state, according to the Oklahoma Gaming Compliance Unit. Its report said this could be linked to an increase in the number of electronic bingo machines at tribal casinos, known as Class II machines, on which the tribes don't have to pay fees.

The most recent figures for gambling revenue — for 2013 — show that Oklahoma's tribal casinos made $3.8 billion, second only to California among the 28 states with tribal casinos, according to a recent report called the Indian Gaming Industry Report. Alan Meister, a California economist who specializes in writing about gambling, puts out the report each year.

The reports come as the Quapaw tribe is facing a legal challenge from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt about the tribe's plan to expand Downstream Casino into Kansas. An amended complaint, filed April 14 in U.S. District Court in Topeka, also names Sally Jewell, the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and Quapaw tribe Chairman John Berrey.

Sean Harrison, a spokesman for Downstream Casino Resort, said he could only speculate on why the tribe's fees dropped in 2014. He said about 450 of the casino's 2,000 machines are Class II machines that aren't subject to Oklahoma's fees. He said that number of Class II machines was about the same in 2013 and 2014. The tribe also operates a small casino in Miami.

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"We are constantly changing things on the gaming floor," Harrison said. "Like most casinos, we change games and game-mixes on a regular basis."

Berrey has unsuccessfully tried to get Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to negotiate an agreement for the Quapaw tribe to offer gambling in Kansas. Berrey last wrote Brownback in December after the National Indian Gaming Commission said the tribe could offer gambling in Cherokee County. That decision spurred the Kansas attorney general's federal lawsuit.

Berrey has said that Kansas would benefit economically from the fees the tribe would pay.

But Mark Dodd, the executive director of the State Gaming Agency, said the four tribes that have agreements, or compacts, with Kansas don't have profit sharing such as Oklahoma does. He said the Kansas tribes split the cost of paying for the Kansas agency's budget, roughly $1.7 million to $1.8 million. A revenue-sharing arrangement, such as the one Oklahoma has, would have to be approved by Kansas, the tribes and the National Indian Gaming Commission.

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Under the Oklahoma agreements with tribes operating casinos, the tribes pay monthly fees for Class III electronic games which include poker, pull-tabs and parimutuel wagering. Tribes pay 4 percent of the first $10 million in revenue, 5 percent for the next $10 million and 6 percent on revenue more than $20 million.

Kansas was 25th in overall gaming revenue among states that have Indian gaming, with about $612 million, according to the industry report. Of that, about $247 million was from Indian gaming, and $365 million was from commercial casinos.

Oklahoma was third in the nation with almost all of its $3.9 billion gambling revenue from Indian casinos. Race tracks with casinos accounted for about $113 million of that.

Kansas plans to build a state-owned casino in Southeast Kansas that would compete with the Downstream Casino. Three groups are competing for the right to that business. The Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board is expected to select one of those proposals in July. Two of the three proposals are for Crawford County, and the third is in Cherokee County. The winning business would still have to undergo extensive background checks before getting a final OK.

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