Oklahoma Gaming Association Suspends Two Tribes After Compacts Signing

Thursday, May 7th 2020, 8:33 pm
By: Jonathan Cooper

The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association is suspending two tribes that signed new compacts with Governor Kevin Stitt.

The OIGA is removing the membership of both the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes.

OIGA Chairman Matthew Morgan said in a statement today "this was a difficult decision to make, but it was the correct one. Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association works best when its membership can speak frankly and with the trust that all members are working together to support our industry as a whole,"

Related Story - Oklahoma Tribal Leaders Say Gaming Compacts Will Renew January 1

Back in April, both of the tribes signed the compacts that will give them expanded opportunities like new casinos and sports betting.

Although, there is disagreement among state leaders whether that is legal.

Late last year, the OIGA met in Tulsa to announce that all their member tribes will stick together opposing Stitt's assertion that the compacts expired.

But now, two of them are out and 10 tribes remain in federal mediation with the governor.

The Otoe-Missouri Tribe sent News On 6 this statment:

“The Otoe-Missouria Tribe is a sovereign nation and we negotiated a legal compact with the Governor of the State of Oklahoma. We plan to follow the federal process for approval of the negotiated compact. Regardless of the opinion of the OIGA, there are not hierarchies of sovereign nations in Indian Country. Each tribe has the right to negotiate the best compact available for their tribal government. We still support the intentions of the other tribes to fight for the very best compact for their individual governments. I certainly, hope as negotiations continue, other tribes won’t be singled out for exercising their tribal sovereignty.”

Once their suspension has expired, the tribes can seek reinstatement of membership, which will then be voted on by the OIGA board.

The Governor’s Office released the following statement:

“The State will continue to communicate and strengthen relationships directly with each of Oklahoma’s 38-federally recognized tribes instead of through a fragmented association.” – Baylee Lakey, Communications Director

The Comanche Nation also released the following:

“It’s unfortunate the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) doesn’t respect individual tribal sovereignty to negotiate new compacts. The Comanche Nation constitution makes our duty clear - the common well-being of all Comanche Nation members. The Comanche Nation compact is legal. The Comanche Nation compact speaks to the well-being of all 17,500 members. The Comanche Business Committee looks forward to the immediate approval by the Office of Indian Gaming. I believe the hype of United for Oklahoma gets lost when a sovereign nation does indeed practice sovereignty.”