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Tribal leaders and members of OIGA discuss gaming compact dispute

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Posted at 12:39 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 15:35:50-05

TULSA, Okla. — The Oklahoma Tribal Leaders and members of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association will hold a news conference Thursday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. at River Spirit Casino Resort.

They will be commenting on Oklahoma Governor Stitt’s gaming compact dispute.

The leaders of Oklahoma's Five Civilized Tribes have rejected Governor Kevin Stitt's call to negotiate new gaming compacts.

In a resolution signed today, the leaders of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, Creek, and Seminole Nations question the governor's sincerity to work with them.

“We have considered the state of Oklahoma a trustworthy partner through the years," the Five Tribal Leaders said in a joint statement. "Working together we have made strides in building a better, stronger and more prosperous Oklahoma for the benefit of the hundreds of thousands of members of our Tribes who live and work here as well as all residents of this great State. We can trace the starting point of our constructive partnership to the carefully crafted and balanced approach represented in the current compact negotiated in a respectful manner between the State of Oklahoma and the sovereign Tribes residing in Oklahoma. This compact represents a continuing and mutually beneficial partnership. The recent action of Governor Stitt puts into question his sincerity to work with us in a cooperative manner moving ahead. We are resolute in our position, and it is our hope Governor Stitt and his advisors will not attempt any bad faith interference on the compact which could set back the progress we have achieved by working together.”

Governor Stitt responded late this afternoon with the following statement:

“Oklahoma is comprised of 39 federally-recognized tribes and roughly 4 million people, and I was elected to give a fresh eye to all agreements, laws, and actions by state government and to make the hard decisions that consider every individual who calls this great state home," said Stitt in a statement. "Dating back to the campaign, I was transparent and clear that, as governor, I would seek a fair-market deal regarding the State’s Tribal Gaming Compacts that expire on January 1, 2020. This 15-year-old compact established some of the lowest gaming fees in the nation, and the tribes have been fantastic, successful business leaders in our state, turning their gaming industry in Oklahoma into the third largest in the nation today. I am committed to open discussions with all Tribal partners and to achieving an outcome that spurs more funding for public education, grows opportunity for the tribes, and is a successful partnership for the state and future generations of Oklahomans.”

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