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Oklahoma tribal gaming clocks big win over state governor

Tribal gaming interests clocked a big win against the state of Oklahoma this week when a judge ruled that their compacts with the state must be automatically renewed. The tribes are also clocking a major win against the state’s governor, who has been looking to take a greater cut of the tribe’s gaming action.

At the heart of the battle is an obscure clause in the state’s original tribal gaming compact which allowed for an automatic renewal of the compact if other gaming licensees were issued electronic gaming licenses. That happened when horse tracks were granted exactly that kind of license. The tribal gaming interests said the matter was pretty clear cut and US District Court Judge Timothy DeGiusti agreed with them. He granted a 15-year extension of the compact.

The tribe’s zeal in sticking to the details of the original compact likely stems from bad feelings they’re likely to be having after Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt attempted to squeeze an additional 10 percent of their casino revenue earlier this year. The tribe’s said they would come to the table, but that the compact renewal was non-negotiable. The governor thought different and was proven wrong.

In a statement to the press reported on by FOX 23 News, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. described the court victory saying, “The Cherokee Nation is pleased with today’s ruling which affirms what our tribal nations have known from the beginning, that our gaming compacts with the state of Oklahoma renewed on Jan. 1 for another 15 years.”

Hoskin left the door open to better relations with governor saying, “Everything in our compact now remains the same, and we hope we can move forward and build a relationship built on respect with Gov. Stitt in the future.”