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Gaming compact fight coming down to the wire

Posted at 10:40 PM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 23:40:05-05

TULSA, Okla. — Governor Kevin Stitt claims when the 15-year gaming compact between tribes and the state expires on January 1, casinos will be operating illegally. However, a lawyer for the Osage Nation is arguing differently.

Of the 38 federally-recognized tribes, 31 have signed compacts. There are 130 tribal gaming operations ranging from an annex to a gas stop to full-scale resort casinos.

Attorney Dean Luthey has been hired by the Osage Nation casinos as they prepare to potentially go to court over gaming compacts with the state of Oklahoma.

"Merely saying the compact doesn't automatically renew does not change the language," Luthey said. "The compact shall automatically renew for successive additional 15 year terms," he quoted from the compact.

Governor Stitt says commercial casinos are ready to come to Oklahoma, and would offer to pay 18% in taxes, while tribes pay exclusivity fees at only 4% to 6%.

If the contract expires, one of two things will happen: it will automatically renew, or the state will claim the casinos are operating illegally.

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