Oklahoma Attorney General Says Governor's Gaming Compact Agreement Isn't Legal

Wednesday, April 22nd 2020, 8:21 am
By: Amy Kauffman

Governor Kevin Stitt reaches a gaming agreement with two of the state's 39 tribes that include expanded gaming and the ability for the tribes to open new casinos but Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter says these compacts aren't legal.

Attorney General Mike Hunter says the governor is allowed to negotiate the compacts but says he can only negotiate certain games authorized by the act. 

On Tuesday the governor signed deals with the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Comanche Nation.  The new compacts include 4.5% fees for the right to operate gaming and would be good for 15 years just like the last one. As profits go up, the tribes will pay 6% on existing casinos and 8% to 13% on new facilities.

They'll also pay the state 1.1% of a patron's wagering total but many are saying these new compacts aren't legal.

The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association released a statement saying in part:

"Governor Stitt does not have the authority to do what he claims to have done. Without the engagement of the Oklahoma Legislature, he has entered agreements based on a claim of unilateral State authority."

State Attorney General Mike Hunter then released a statement saying in part,

"The governor has the authority to negotiate compacts with the tribes on behalf of the state. However, only gaming activities authorized by the act may be the subject of a tribal gaming compact. Sports betting is not a prescribed 'covered game' under the act."

The two tribes run nine casinos.