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Oklahoma Supreme Court rules gaming compacts invalid

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Posted at 6:21 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 19:49:54-04

OKLAHOMA CITY — It's a big loss for the governor.

In a 7 to 1 vote, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday the gaming compacts signed with two tribes are "invalid under Oklahoma law."

Back in April, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the compacts with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria tribes.

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall challenged Stitt's ability to make contracts that are not allowed under state law.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter released the following statement:

The Supreme Court affirmed what my office has opined, and the pro tem of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives have argued all along, the governor lacks the authority to enter into and bind the state to compacts with Indian tribes that authorize gaming activity prohibited by state law. We applaud today’s ruling and appreciate the court for carefully looking at this and coming to an apt conclusion. We hope this settles and advances the resolution of gaming compact negotiations.

Comanche Chairman William Nelson, Sr. issued the following statement:

Our compact is legal under federal law and is a matter of our tribal sovereignty. We intend to continue operating under the terms of the compact outside of offering games not currently authorized by state law. Our compact is legal and we are prepared to legally invoke the compact’s severability clause if necessary.

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