by Barbara Kyser-Collier, Director of the Quapaw Tribal Gaming Agency
and Chairperson of the Oklahoma Tribal Gaming Regulators Association
Organization of the Oklahoma Tribal Gaming Regulators Association (OTGRA) began to evolve in the Spring of 2006. In 2005 a meeting was held, in Tulsa, Oklahoma in hopes of forming this association. Many tribal regulators felt it would be advantageous to have opportunities to meet, network, and share information among regulators.
The initial group started with about six tribes represented, and as time progressed and word spread, the group began, and continues, to grow. It was agreed the group should formally organize. On May 11, 2006, formal organization took place and election of officers was held. Elected to serve, as start up officers, are Barbara Kyser-Collier, Chairperson, Robin Prairie Chief, Vice Chairperson, Amber Parker, Secretary, and Casi Shaw, Treasurer.
The long-term plans include logistical gaming areas, throughout the state, with these gaming areas selecting individuals to serve on a board of directors. Also included in the long-term plans are the promotion of cooperative relationships among regulators of tribal gaming and other organizations, as well as the promotion of the exchange of information and ideas towards regulatory standards and enforcement among OTGRA members. The promotion of educational seminars, which includes cost effective training and other related activities, is included in OTGRA's active goals and the organization promoted its first regulatory training session last August on slot math and analysis and Title 31 training sessions.
Expanding on its original structure, the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Regulators Association has since become incorporated. During OTGRA’s December 5th meeting, a motion was passed to accept the Articles of Incorporation and by-laws for OTGRA. The Articles of Incorporation of OTGRA were filed as a Miami Tribe of Oklahoma Non-Profit Corporation, on December 22, 2006.
Also approved were the by-laws, which include thirteen articles specific to the purpose and goals of the association to promote and encourage the highest standards of ethics for tribal gaming regulation in Oklahoma and to facilitate communication among Oklahoma tribal gaming regulators through networking.
OTGRA will provide opportunities for affordable training in Oklahoma for Oklahoma tribal regulators and casino management, covering all aspects of regulation and issues of concern in tribal gaming. Additionally, it will create a wider recognition of the importance of regulation in tribal gaming as it pertains to meeting tribal, state and federal regulation requirements specifically for the protection of the Oklahoma tribal gaming industry. It will also promote and perpetuate the integrity of Oklahoma tribal gaming, as well as conduct and promote such other logical activities that will enhance the benefit of casinos and tribal governments in Oklahoma.
Pursuant to the Association by-laws, two forms of membership have been developed. Voting members will include tribal gaming commissions, gaming commission staff, and individuals involved in regulation for individual tribes. Each tribe will submit a membership fee of $200.00 and will list on the application all individuals serving under that tribe who will be considered an OTGRA voting member. Associate members may also join OTGRA. An associate member is an entity, or individual not with a tribe, but who has an interest in regulatory issues. The associate members will not be eligible to vote, but are invited to attend all meetings and conference/training sessions.
OTGRA was not formed to replace any other established gaming organization, actively supporting tribal gaming establishments and issues throughout Indian Country. The goal of OTGRA is to jointly assist with the requirements and encompassing necessities of all tribal gaming regulators.
Membership is encouraged in this newly formed, state-inclusive association, however it is not required for attendance at OTGRA meetings or conferences. All tribal regulators, as well as tribal leaders, are encouraged to attend and obtain education in all areas concerning the regulations of tribal gaming.
The Oklahoma Tribal Gaming Regulators Association invites all interested tribes, gaming enterprises, and individuals to plan to attend the next OTGRA bi-monthly meeting. It will be held February 15th, beginning at 1:00 p.m. hosted by the Choctaw Gaming Commission, in Durant, OK. The bi-monthly meeting information, the membership applications and all of the structural documents can be accessed on the OTGRA website at www.otgra.com
Barbara Kyser-Collier is Director of the Quapaw Tribal Gaming Agency and Chairperson of the Oklahoma Tribal Gaming Regulators Association. She can be reached by calling (918) 542-5995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org