TULSA - Eight years after the state of Oklahoma changed a law regarding Indian gaming, casinos are bringing in millions to the state.
At the same time, controversy is growing.
More than 100 Indian casinos operate across Oklahoma. Soon a casino being built by the Kialegee Tribe in Broken Arrow may join that list.
But just where it's located - and who has jurisdiction over the land - has some residents concerned.
"I figure if they can build casinos here in our neighborhood, who's to say they can't build it somewhere else in a community. And they can be in a neighborhood. If you have Indian land anywhere near where you've built your home, a casino could go up there," said Kim Schein.
Schein is one of many Oklahomans questioning how much casinos give back to the cities and the state in which I operate.
"Money, I would love for them to show me where the amount of money is going," said Schein.
Until 2004, Indian casinos did not funnel any money back to the state. Then voters approved the State-Tribal Gaming Act.
Next, the Oklahoma legislature legalized class III gaming, bringing slot machines and card games to casinos. In return, the state required that tribes hand over anywhere from four to 10 percent of their casino profits to the state every year.
"I think it's been a good thing. Look at the amount of revenue the state has been able to garner from that. Look at the amount of jobs that are created in the counties where those people reside in," said Sheila Morago, executive director of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Commission.
She says several tribes have expanded or even built new casinos since the compact.
"Well, I think it's just a natural growth aspect as to what's been happening. Oklahoma has been very lucky. As the rest of the nation saw a decline in gaming revenue, Oklahoma is actually one of the few states that saw an increase," said Morago.
2NEWS found the amount of casino money coming into the state has jumped substantially over the years. In 2006, the state collected more than $14 million. That rose to more than $122 million in 2011.
So where does that money go? The Gaming Compliance Division, through the Office of State Finance, collects the fees for the state.
Twelve percent goes into the general revenue fund. The remaining 88 percent goes to the Department of Education's education reform revolving fund, to eventually be divvied up by public schools statewide.
It may sound like a lot of money, but 2NEWS found tribal gaming fees make up less than five percent of all education funding.
Lloyd Snow, superintendent of Sand Springs Public Schools, says he voted in favor of the gaming act in 2004.
"If we had an election tomorrow, I would vote no," he said. "I think along came more crisis for families, more addiction that we don't need. Our kids aren't as healthy as they should be. Schools certainly aren't as funded as they should be," said Snow.
Snow says right now schools need all of the funding they can get. But he questions at what price.
"So no denying that the dollars have gone in, and it's made some impact, but it hasn't done what we were told it would do. And I'm not so sure that its brought - who knows the amount of other problems to the state," said Snow.
The attorney representing the Kialegee Tribe believes the benefit has already been shown.
"So there's good citizens, there's money available. The tribes I work with are good citizens. Supporting schools is a good use of casino money," said Dennis Whittlesey, attorney.
It is a debate likely to be waged for years.
There are 34 existing and approved tribal gaming compacts with the state of Oklahoma, including the Kialegee Tribe, according to the Office of State Finance.
They'll remain in effect until 2020.
2NEWS found that Oklahoma only tracks the money due to the state, not the overall amount the casinos pull in.
The National Indian Gaming Commission does track gaming revenue, but here's where it gets confusing.
Oklahoma is actually split into two regions. The Tulsa region, which also includes the entire state of Kansas, brought in $1.8 billion in 2010. The Oklahoma City region, which includes all of Texas, brought in $1.6 billion the same year.
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