Stitt Announces New Gaming Compacts with Otoe-Missouria Tribe, Comanche Nation

Apr 21, 2020

 Updated April 21, 6:37 a.m. to include a response by Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter.

Two tribes on Tuesday signed new gaming compacts with Gov. Kevin Stitt.

The Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Comanche Nation agreed to new 15-year compacts that would expire Dec. 31, 2035. Those tribes are not parties to a gaming compact lawsuit against Stitt currently in mediation.

Otoe-Missouria Tribe Chairman John Shotton said it’s not that they disagree with tribes that are suing Stitt over his claim compacts expired.

"While we do believe the current compact auto-renewed at the end of 2019 for another 15 years, it was our choice to sit down with the governor and his team, discuss what his ideas were for a new or amended compact," Shotton said.

The agreements call for exclusivity fees of 4.5%, increasing to 6% if the federal government approves new casinos the two tribes are planning and that Stitt agrees to in the compacts.

Exclusivity fees for new facilities are based on how many people may visit. Under the agreements, the Comanche Nation would pay 13% for one in Love County, 12% for one in Cleveland County and 8% for one in Grady County. The Otoe-Missouria Tribe would pay 12% for one in Logan County and 8% for ones in Noble and Payne counties.

Should the tribes bring in more than $300 million in a year, exclusivity fees would be renegotiated through a process spelled out in the compacts.

"Moving forward, the state will continue to negotiate with individual tribes, leaving behind the one-size-fits-all approach to the model gaming compact," Stitt said.

The compacts also authorize betting on sports and e-sports for a 1.1% fee.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said Tuesday evening the agreements are not authorized under the state's Tribal Gaming Act, and Stitt overstepped the authority of the governor's office by signing them.

Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Chairman Matt Morgan said in a statement the organization respects the sovereignty of each tribe to make its own decisions for its citizens.

"All the same, Gov. Stitt does not have the authority to do what he claims to have done today. Without the engagement of the Oklahoma Legislature, he has entered agreements based on a claim of unilateral State authority to legalize sportsbook, to revamp the Oklahoma Lottery, and to authorize new gaming facilities in Norman and Stillwater, among other places. That’s simply not the law," Morgan said.

The proposed compacts must be approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Mediation in the lawsuit with the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Citizen Potawatomi nations must be completed by the end of May.