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Pair of Oklahoma tribal gaming compacts get federal approval


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In Oklahoma and the new gaming compacts Governor Kevin Stitt (pictured) agreed with two local casino-operating tribes in April have reportedly been given the go-ahead by federal officials.

According to a report from the Associated Press news service published by IndianCountryToday.com, the 15-year deals inked with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe give both groups permission to build up to three new casinos closer to metropolitan areas in exchange for agreeing to hand over a greater share of their net annual gaming revenues in ‘exclusivity fees’. The federally-recognized pair will also purportedly be allowed to run sportsbetting so long as they pay a 1.1% state tax on the amounts wagered.

Silent sanction:

The Associated Press reportedly detailed that these agreements have now been ‘deemed approved’ by the United States Department of the Interior after their 45-day review period expired without comment from the federal department, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Stitt purportedly used an official Monday statement to declare that the leadership of the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe had ‘worked hard to secure fair terms for their citizens’ throughout the negotiations and that their efforts had helped to ensure ‘a more level playing field and modernized gaming market in Oklahoma.’

Read the statement from 47-year-old Stitt…

“I am extremely pleased to learn that these new compacts have been deemed approved by the federal government. With these new gaming compacts, Oklahoma is ushering in a new era of prosperity, opportunity and partnership for the state and the tribes.”

Potential problems:

However, the Associated Press reported that the approvals do not mean that sportsbetting will be coming to ‘The Sooner State’ anytime soon as the activity remains illegal under local laws. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter purportedly moreover pronounced that the duo will likely face determined opposition from other tribes should they attempt to begin constructing new casinos near existing gambling-friendly facilities.

Litigious likelihood:

Meanwhile, local Republican legislative leaders have reportedly furthermore asked the Oklahoma State Supreme Court to determine whether Stitt may have overstretched his gubernatorial authority in reaching the deals with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe.

Continuing controversy:

As if all of this wasn’t enough, the news service reported that the Republican governor is additionally locked in a legal dispute with ten other Oklahoma-based tribes concerning his assertion that their 15-year gaming compacts, which were inked in 2004, expired at the end of last year. This federal legal action is purportedly being led by a trio of the state’s most prominent aboriginal casino operators in the Chickasaw Nation, Cherokee Nation and Choctaw Nation and is arguing that these arrangements remain valid as they contained automatic rollover clauses.

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