Oklahoma Tribal Leaders Say Gaming Compacts Will Renew January 1
The ongoing dispute between Governor Kevin Stitt and the tribes that offer gaming in the state, hitting another road block Thursday afternoon.
The state's tribes say they reject the Governor's offer of an extension to re-negotiate the gaming compacts.
"We stand united today here as tribal leadership," said Matthew Morgan, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association.
Representatives from 32 of the 35 tribes that offer gaming in the state all met at the River Spirit Casino and Resort in Tulsa Thursday afternoon.
Their united message, that the gaming compacts automatically renew - and they do need an extension.
Earlier this week, Governor Stitt sent the tribe's a letter offering a compact extension to August 31st, 2020, which would allow both sides more time to negotiate.
The Governor insists class three gaming, which includes some slots, blackjack, craps and roulette, will become illegal.
"If we do not take action, all class three gaming activity will be illegal on January 1st of 2020," said Governor Stitt earlier this week.
The tribes though disagree.
"The triggering events have already occurred. The compacts renew, let’s sit down and talk,” said James Floyd, Principal Chief for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Floyd says it will be business as usual come January 1st at their casinos, including River Spirit in Tulsa.
"We have more than 1,900 employees here, we'll continue to keep people employed regardless of what transpires," said Floyd.
Floyd says the tribes are willing to listen and talk to the governor about a deal that will benefit both sides, but first he says they want the Governor to say the compacts auto-renew.
Governor Stitt sent a statement late Thursday saying:
“The State offered the extension to protect the parties’ legal positions and to provide legal certainty to those working with or visiting the casinos as the January 1, 2020 deadline approaches,” said Gov. Stitt. “I am disappointed that the tribes turned our offer down and refused our requests to negotiate new compact terms that better address the parties’ changing needs. I will continue to work to protect the State’s interests, and I hope that those running the casino industry will negotiate with the State in good faith as these compacts demand.”