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Gov. Stitt responds to tribal leaders lawsuit over gaming compact

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Posted at 8:57 AM, Jan 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-01 10:03:36-05

Oklahoma tribes say it will be business as usual at their casinos, on the first of the year.

Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations filed a federal lawsuit.

They're asking a Federal Judge to decide whether the State's Gaming Compacts with the tribes expire tomorrow, or renew for another 15 year term.

Governor Stitt has said they expire and he believes gambling at tribal casinos will be illegal.

Two of the Tribes, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Kialegee Tribal Town ("Tribe"), just signed an 8 month extension to continue negotiations with the State of Oklahoma.

Governor Stitt responded to the federal lawsuit by the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations saying:
“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 went on to say, “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 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 and 35 tribes in 2005. Officials say between July 3 and July 8, 2019, Stitt requested the 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.”

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