In a teleconference call held yesterday afternoon, the Governor of Oklahoma announced that two new gaming compacts were signed with the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, respectively. Governor Kevin Stitt described the new agreements as a progress in the casino gambling dispute that had been mostly out of the public eye but had been fuelling rumors for quite some time.
John Shotton, the Chairman of the Otoe-Missouria tribe, explained that the new compact with the state was agreed to provide certainty to both parties, regardless of the volatile situation with the coronavirus outbreak. The Native American tribe, which headquarter is in the town of Red Rock in Noble County, currently operates five casino venues in the northern part of the state under the 7-Clans Casino branding.
At the end of March, the legal team of Governor Stitt sent new gaming compact offers to a number of local Native American tribes. The offers, though, were not sent to the tribes that run the largest gambling operations in the state of Oklahoma – the Cherokee Nation, the Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation. The three of them took Stitt to court in a legal battle that sought a ruling under which the existing gaming compact would have been automatically renewed on January 1st.
However, currently, the court case is in mediation, and the deadline for the ruling has been extended to May 31st because of the coronavirus situation.
The New Agreements Are a Win-Win for Both the State and the Tribes
The lawsuit of the three aforementioned tribes was joined by the Otoe-Missouria tribe in court, with the latter’s Chairman having shared his hopes that the previous compact would eventually be automatically renewed.
Mr. Shotton further explained that the new agreement with the state of Oklahoma provided for a lower rate than the one the tribe is currently paying, and furthermore, it included the chance for offering a sportsbook. He also noted that there were opportunities for expansion of gaming in the future, so his tribe decided to iron the differences with the Governor and his team and grasp the chance.
Governor Stitt has explained that was not a “take it or leave it” compact for neither one of the parties. He further noted that the agreement was a win-win deal for both the tribes and the state of Oklahoma.
The Comanche Nation that is also operating a total of five casino venues in the state, has been involved in a series of disputes with the Chickasaw Nation over some land rights and other industry issues. The gaming compliance report of the for 2018 of the state revealed that the tribe paid almost $2 million.
Under the compact of the Comanche Nation, the tribe is given the chance to open three new casino venues in three counties where there are currently Chichasaw gaming operations.