GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES TWO TRIBES SIGN 8-MONTH GAMING EXTENSION, RESPONDS TO FEDERAL LAWSUIT
Governor Kevin Stitt today announced two tribes, the Kialegee Tribal Town (“Tribe”) and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, have entered into an eight-month extension with the State of Oklahoma on the Model Gaming Compact. Governor Stitt today also responded to the federal lawsuit filed by the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Cherokee Nations in regard to the Model Gaming Compact expiring on Jan. 1, 2020.
“I appreciate the honesty and boldness of the Kialegee Tribal Town and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians who recognize the Jan. 1, 2020 expiration in the Model Gaming Compact and have signed on to the eight-month extension generously offered by the State. These extensions will enable the parties to negotiate a compact that better accounts for the differing needs of tribes throughout the state and the State’s interests in preserving the substantial exclusivity without a cloud of legal uncertainty. The State of Oklahoma offered an extension, with no strings attached, to all tribes that operate casinos in the state, and my door continues to be open for more tribes to join who are worried about impending uncertainty,” said Gov. Stitt.
Gov. Stitt continued, “I am disappointed that a number of Oklahoma tribes, led by the Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Choctaw Nations, did not accept the State’s offer on Oct. 28 for a three-person arbitration panel to resolve our dispute outside of court. This was a capstone action to their numerous refusals to meet with the State and begin negotiations on the Model Gaming Compact to ensure a win-win for all parties by the end of this year. I was elected to represent all 4 million Oklahomans, and I will continue to be laser focused on an outcome that achieves a fair deal and is in the best interest of the state and its citizens.”
The gaming compacts were entered into by the State of Oklahoma and 35 tribes beginning in 2005. Between July 3 – July 8, 2019, Governor Stitt requested that tribal leaders work with the State to renegotiate terms in the gaming compacts—"within 180 days of the expiration of this Compact or any renewal thereof,” as set forth in Part 15.B of the compacts.
The State of Oklahoma made four official requests for tribal leaders to come together to discuss and negotiate the terms of the gaming compacts. All requests were turned down by the tribes. The State then proposed arbitration to resolve the legal dispute regarding the compacts’ expiration date. This offer was categorically rejected. On Dec. 18, 2019, Governor Stitt offered to extend the compacts for eight months to permit the parties time to negotiate in good faith. This offer was also turned down. The tribes have now filed a lawsuit after repeatedly being offered all avenues available to resolve the matter without litigation. The timeline of events is available by clicking here.