Oklahoma tribal casinos remained open after the state’s January 1 deadline. (KTEN)
The ongoing battle between the State of Oklahoma and its Indian tribes rolls on.
The parties are arguing about whether compacts that regulate how gaming revenues are taxed, shared and regulated expired at the start of the new year, as Gov. Kevin Stitt maintains… or if they were automatically renewed, as the tribes argue.
We decided to take a deep dive into the language of the original compact.
In 2004, the Oklahoma Legislature passed Senate Bill 1252. We’ve looked into the text of that legislation.
Section 22 specifically states “This Compact shall have a term which will expire on January 1, 2020.” But it goes on to say “…the Compact shall automatically renew for successive additional fifteen-year terms.”
This is exactly what the tribes have been saying.
Senate Bill 1252 goes on to state that fees and penalties can be renegotiated come January 1st, 2020. The tribes have signaled they are willing to renegotiate those terms, but not until Gov. Stitt acknowledges that the compacts renewed on January 1.
Stitt maintains that the compacts have now expired.
The Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw nations have sued Gov. Stitt in federal court, challenging his interpretation of the compacts.
The Choctaw Nation tells KTEN they still haven’t heard from Stitt, even though he threatened that gaming operations would be considered illegal after January 1.
The full text of Senate Bill 1252