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Feds Approve Two New Gaming Compacts By Default

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Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (center) signs a new gaming compact with United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians on July 2, 2020.

Gaming compacts signed by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee and Kialegee Tribal Town in July have been deemed approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The gaming compacts were approved by default because the U.S. Department of the Interior took no action within the 45-day window allowed by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

That's exactly what happened when two separate compacts between Stitt and the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe went into effect at the end of June. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has since ruled those compacts to be invalid and those compacts are currently the subject of a federal lawsuit.

The new compacts between the United Keetoowah Band and Kialegee Tribal Town raises the fee for class III gaming from 6% to 13% paid to the state.

Both tribes must acquire the land to build casinos and have the land put into trust. Currently, neither tribe operates any gaming facility or casino.

The compacts have yet to be published in the Federal Register.

In July, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that gaming compacts between the Tribes and the State of Oklahoma automatically renewed on January 1, 2020 for another 15 years. It's unclear whether Stitt will appeal the decision.

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