ByCasino Connection Staff Mon, Jun 29, 2020
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s compacts with two tribes paved the way for sports betting in the state. While the U.S. Department of Interior did not reject the agreement, the two legislative houses and Attorney General Mike Hunter insist the compact violates state law.
Once a long shot, tribal Oklahoma sports betting received a major boost from the federal government this week.
The U.S. Department of Interior did not reject tribal gaming compacts between the state and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Comanche Nation, according to Governor Kevin Stitt. The governor announced the signing of the compacts April 21.
While the actions could open the door for sports betting in Oklahoma, Attorney General Mike Hunter still says the compacts violate state law, according to LegalSportsReport.com.
The governor’s argument centers on Oklahoma law permitting betting on horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering. And denying tribes the opportunity goes against the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and undermines the objectives for which gaming relations have become a central pillar of tribal-state relations.
“I am extremely pleased to learn that these new compacts have been deemed approved by the federal government,” Stitt said in a statement.
Still, legal challenges and questions abound. Until settled, the tribes have to wait to begin sportsbooks.
Hunter issued a statement opposing the DOI decision.
“The agreements signed between the governor, the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and the Comanche Nation are not authorized by the state Tribal Gaming Act,” he said.
While the governor has the authority to negotiate compacts, only gaming activities permitted by the act may be part of the compact, he said.
Sports betting is not permitted. Legislative leaders in both houses sided with Hunter.
“The inclusion of sports betting is one of a number of flaws found in our preliminary review of the documents,” a joint statement said.