Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (l.) agreed to authorize sports betting as part of the renegotiation of compacts for two tribes. The move rubbed the legislature the wrong way. The state Supreme Court will hear arguments to decide who’s right.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court expected to begin hearing arguments July 1 regarding the legality of Governor Kevin Stitt’s approval of sports betting as part of two new tribal compacts. His approval led to a backlash, with many questioning Stitt’s power to authorize sports wagering and other games.
Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall brought the action to the court to clarify Stitt’s powers.
According to Legal Sports Report, sports betting was not expected to be law any time soon. Then Stitt issued his approval of such activity in two renegotiated compacts with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe back in April.
Attorney General Mike Hunter condemned the moves, saying Stitt didn’t have the authority to contradict state gaming law in tribal compacts. Hunter called for the Department of the Interior to reject the compacts.
But Interior took no action, which allowed the compacts to come into force 45 days after submission. Stitt asked the federal court for clarification and in June, the court said. “Any question that has arisen regarding the extent of Governor Stitt’s authority with respect to tribal gaming or gaming compacts, the powers granted to him by state law or the balance of powers within the state’s internal government structure is not a matter for decision in this case.”
In light of Interior’s refusal to get involved, the compacts need to be published in the Federal Register first. Once that happens, the two tribes will be clear to offer sports betting at their casinos. But with the ongoing legal battle, it’s doesn’t seem likely either will take that step until there is more clarity.