OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The U.S. Department of Interior has given tacit approval to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s recent agreements on tribal gambling with two Oklahoma-based Indian tribes.
The compacts with the Kialegee Tribal Town and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians were “deemed approved” by the federal department after a 45-day review period expired Thursday.
The new compacts would increase the fees the tribes pay on certain electronic games from 6% to as high as 13% if the tribes build casinos in new locations authorized under the deal.
Stitt said the compacts reflect a “new, modern approach” to tribal gaming, but the agreements were quickly panned by the chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Commission.
“It is confusing to us that the United States Department of the Interior has allowed the clock to run out and not taken action on these unlawful gaming agreements between Gov. Kevin Stitt and two tribes,” Matthew Morgan said in a statement. “The inaction is disappointing and will lead to more costly, time-consuming and needless litigation.”
The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled Stitt overstepped his legal authority when he reached similar deals with two other Native American tribes.