OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — New gaming compacts have been signed with two additional Indian tribes, according to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt.
Though Stitt on Thursday described the compacts with the Kialegee Tribal Town and Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians as promoting economic development, Matthew Morgan, the chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association immediately challenged their legality, according to The Oklahoman. He said they are neither legal nor helpful.
“We agree with Oklahoma’s legislative leadership and Attorney General Mike Hunter that Gov. Kevin Stitt unilaterally entering into new gaming agreements with tribal nations violates state law,” Morgan said, noting that the legality of compacts the governor previously signed with two other tribes is being challenged before the Oklahoma Supreme Court by legislative leaders and Oklahoma’s attorney general.
“For the past year, Gov. Stitt’s actions have caused unnecessary strife, costly litigation and have wasted the state’s resources,” he said.
In the compact with the Kialegee Tribal Town, Stitt approved for the tribe to construct a casino in eastern Oklahoma County on land east of Choctaw Road — within a mile of a state or federal highway or turnpike. In his agreement with the United Keetoowah Band, he authorized the tribe to construct and operate a casino in Logan County within a mile of a state or federal highway or turnpike.
The compacts with the Kialegee Tribal Town and United Keetoowah Band differ significantly from compacts the governor signed earlier with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe.
Morgan said he thinks Stitt is attempting to offer items outside his authority “in terms of crafting gaming compacts outside of the model compact process authorized by state law.” Additionally, the tribes are attempting to move outside their jurisdictional boundaries, he said.
The U.S. Department of the Interior must still approve all tribal gaming compacts before they can become effective.