Oklahoma Governor Will Not Appeal US District Court Ruling

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt released an official statement regarding the court ruling on gaming compacts last week, claiming he would not appeal the decision which would have statewide ramifications. According to the ruling in July, tribal gaming compacts which expired at the end of last year were automatically renewed for another 15 years starting January 1, 2020.

Tribes Filed Lawsuit against Governor

Gov. Stitt had previously argued the gaming compacts did not renew automatically, looking to re-negotiate terms with the tribes and generate more funds to the state, and prompted legal action from the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations.

US District Judge Timothy DeGiusti ruled that the gaming compacts allowed for automatic renewal as long as other non-tribal organizations were authorized to offer electronic gaming, besides pari-mutuel wagering.

The ruling was not what Oklahoma Governor expected, but he now stated he would not seek to appeal the decision. Kevin Stitt is also concerned with another case ruling, the McGirt vs Oklahoma, where the court ruled that much of the eastern part of the state is Native American land.

“Our state is facing unprecedented uncertainty as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma. Therefore, it is essential for state and tribal leaders to join together to resolve the challenges this ruling presents for Oklahomans and their businesses.”

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt

Governor Wants to Work together with the Tribes

Clearly signaling he would not appeal the decision, Governor Stitt is trying to reconcile and work together with tribal leaders to find common resolution to the issues posed for the state gambling market moving ahead.

“…we must work together to find solutions that respect the unique relationship between the State of Oklahoma and its tribal citizens, and that provide certainty and fairness for all Oklahomans.”

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt

The decision by the governor to accept the ruling seems to put an end to the long debate around state gaming compacts. At one point, Governor Stitt managed to draw a division line among the tribes by signing two controversial compacts with the Ottoe Missouria Tribe and the Comanche Nation, in which he even allowed the tribes to offer sports betting.

Despite being let to enter into force by the US Department of Interior (DOI), the state’s Supreme Court deemed both deals illegal as they offered games not yet approved by state legislators.  Despite, the compacts managed to cause a huge rift among the tribes in the state and the Ottoe Missouria and Comanche Nation got suspended from the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association.

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