As reported by the Associated Press, new gaming compacts signed with two Oklahoma Indian tribes last week have been immediately challenged as to their legal status by Matthew Morgan, Chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association.
Though Governor Kevin Stitt has described the compacts with the Kialegee Tribal Town and Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians as promoting economic development, Morgan said that they are neither legal nor helpful.
Quoted by AP, Morgan stated: “We agree with Oklahoma’s legislative leadership and Attorney General Mike Hunter that Governor Kevin Stitt unilaterally entering into new gaming agreements with tribal nations violates state law.”
He added that the legality of compacts the governor previously signed with two other tribes is currently being challenged before the Oklahoma Supreme Court by legislative leaders and Oklahoma’s attorney general.
According to Morgan, Governor Stitt’s actions have caused unnecessary strife, costly litigation and have wasted the state’s resources.
The Kialegee Tribal Town compact agreed with Stitt green lights 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. The United Keetoowah Band agreement, meanwhile, allows the tribe to construct and operate a casino in Logan County within a mile of a state or federal highway or turnpike.
According to the AP report, the compacts with the Kialegee Tribal Town and United Keetoowah Band differ significantly from compacts the governor has signed previously with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe.
Morgan’s view is that 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.
Regardless of the current debate in Oklahoma, the tribal gaming compacts have still to gain official approval from the US Department of the Interior.