Oklahoma’s Supreme Court to take up sports gambling case
By Bob Garcia
The continued dispute between the tribes and the state’s governor will have to be heard in court
When Governor Kevin Stitt negotiated new compacts with the state’s operating Indian tribes, he granted sports betting permits to two of them. Now, the Oklahoma Supreme Court will be reviewing whether Stitt had the authority to allow the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Comanche Nation to run legal sports gambling operations. According to the negotiations, the tribal casinos are allowed to operate Class II gaming, which includes slot machines and table games, and they need to pay to the state 4.5%-6% of their gross gaming revenue. However, other tribes argue that Stitt doesn’t have the authority to sign off on the changes.
The most controversial part is that Stitt’s deal with the two tribes gives them the green light to run a sports gambling operation, which continues to be illegal in the Sooner State. Also included in this deal, the tribes are allowed to build new casinos; however, the new properties will have higher taxes to pay. The Supreme Court review on the governor’s actions was requested by State Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall.
These negotiations came after Stitt argued that the 35 federally recognized tribes that conduct Class III gaming needed to negotiate new compacts, and he assumed they expired by January 1. There are several outcomes that can result from this review, including the determination that Stitt can’t offer tribes sports betting permits or any other new forms of gambling. Another possibility is that the court rules that these newly signed compacts have no effect because the established compacts get renewed automatically for another 15-year term – as claimed by other tribes.