Gov. Stitt Signs New Tribal Gaming Compacts, But Federal Lawsuit Continues

Apr 21, 2020

On Tuesday, Governor Kevin Stitt signed new gaming compacts with two of the tribes that were suing him in federal court — The Comanche Nation and The Otoe-Missouria Tribe.

But the dispute continues with ten other tribes over whether the pact tribes have been operating casinos under automatically renewed at the start of the year.

By signing the new compacts, Stitt has blown up the idea of Oklahoma having one model gaming compact.

"Moving forward the state will continue to negotiate with individual tribes, leaving behind the one-size-fits-all approach to the model gaming compacts," Stitt said.

The two tribes who signed new compacts gained access to new locations, including Comanche facilities in Cleveland, Grady and Logan counties. They can also take part in new types of gaming like sportsbook gambling. Some lawmakers questioned the validity of allowing sports gambling without legislative authority. Stitt insisted sports gambling was part of legally covered gaming.

Stitt hopes to gain better leverage and ultimately more state money from gaming revenues with the move.

The two tribes have a relatively small footprint. They paid a combined $6 million in gaming fees to Oklahoma in 2018. Together, all tribes paid a combined $138 million.

Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Chairman Matt Morgan panned the new compacts. He said in a written statement that Stitt ignored the law and his actions have “not helped matters for anyone.”