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Governor Kevin Stitt Urges Approval of Tribes’ Gaming Compacts Rejected by Oklahoma Supreme Court

Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, together with United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB) Chief Joe Bunch and Kialegee Tribal Town (KTT) Mekko Stephanie Yahola, has written letters to the Joint Committee on State-Tribal Relations, Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, and House Speaker Charles McCall, seeking approval for the tribes' gaming compacts. These compacts were previously rejected by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2021.

The Governor expressed pride in the negotiated compacts, stating that they benefit all Oklahomans by requiring a higher percentage of gaming revenue to be given to the state. The compacts also provide the UKB and KTT access to the gaming market, which was previously unavailable to them.

The letters sent to the Joint Committee can be found on the Governor's website, along with the signed compacts. The Governor's office asserts that these compacts have remained unchanged since they were originally approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2020. However, the Oklahoma Supreme Court invalidated the agreements, citing different terms negotiated by Governor Stitt without the approval of a joint legislative committee.

The question now arises as to whether the approval of the legislature would be sufficient to legitimize the unchanged compacts. The Attorney General's office is currently reviewing the compacts to determine their legitimacy.

Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat stated that they are examining the compacts and consulting with the Attorney General to understand how they differ from the previous invalid agreements.

Further updates and determinations on the compacts are expected next week.