A Supreme Court case brought by the Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall will seek to clarify Governor Kevin Stitt’s powers to authorize games in tribal compacts as reported by Legal Sports Report.
The case, which is due to begin next week, was brought after Gov. Stitt approved a number of games which were considered to be illegal under Oklahoma law in two new tribal compacts. The most notable was sports betting, called event wagering in the compacts.
While sports betting in the Sooner State is not expected to be legalized any time soon, Stitt’s decision to approve sports betting in two renegotiated compacts with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe in April came as a surprise to many.
The ruling received significant backlash from within the state, with Attorney General Mike Hunter condemning the actions soon after.
Hunter had called for the compacts to be rejected “out of deference to determinations of state law made by the legal officials in the state.”
But earlier this month, the court declined to comment on whether Stitt has the authority to bind the state with particular compact provisions: “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.
“Further, in the Court’s view, it would be inappropriate for a federal court to interfere with the resolution of such a sensitive state-law matter, which impacts important concerns of sovereignty and comity that underlie many federal abstention doctrines.”