Stitt hopes to renegotiate gaming compacts regardless of opposition from tribal leaders

Stitt hopes to renegotiate gaming compacts despite opposition from tribal leaders

OKLAHOMA CITY — Regardless of pushback from Oklahoma tribes, Gov. Kevin Stitt seems resolute in his need to renegotiate gaming compacts and get a greater deal for the state.

Leaders of 29 American Indian tribes notified Stitt in writing final month that they imagine they don’t seem to be obligated to renegotiate, however they’ll hear if he has a proposal.

Stitt believes the compacts expire Jan. 1, 2020, whereas the tribes imagine they routinely renew.

The tribes pay the state “exclusivity” charges starting from 4% to 10%.

In fiscal 12 months 2018, Oklahoma collected almost $139 million in tribal gaming exclusivity charges, in keeping with a report from the state’s Workplace of Administration and Enterprise Providers. That was a 3.48% improve over fiscal 2017.

Stitt informed the Tulsa World this week that he has not talked to lawmakers about probably increasing gaming to incorporate sports activities betting or different video games in alternate for added or greater charges. However every part is on the desk.

Permitting industrial gaming in Oklahoma resembling what’s permitted in Nevada, stated Stitt, could be a final resort.

“That wouldn’t be what I wished in in the slightest degree,” he stated.

Stitt stated he’s anxious to take a seat down with tribes and are available to a good settlement concerning the charges. What a charge was value 15 years in the past is one thing totally different now, he stated.

Tribal gaming has develop into the eighth-largest trade within the state, Stitt stated, and tribes have been given the unique proper to function that enterprise.

“I don’t begrudge them one minute,” Stitt stated. “All of it comes all the way down to what’s the charge to function a monopoly in our state in gaming.”

Matthew Morgan, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Affiliation, stated Stitt has not supplied tribes something of worth.

Morgan stated as a result of the market is extra mature and aggressive than it was in 2004 when the charges had been established, it might be argued that charges ought to lower. He stated the tribes took the danger and made the investments.

“What the state supplied was substantial exclusivity that was value an quantity in 2004,” Morgan stated. “It’s not value as a lot in 2019 because it was in 2004.”

Stephen Greetham is basic counsel for the Chickasaw Nation.

In a July letter to tribes, Stitt indicated he wished to renegotiate the whole compact, not simply the charges, Greetham stated.

“He has informed tribes he desires to throw the infant out with the bathwater and nobody will be part of him on the desk for that dialog as long as he sticks with that place,” Greetham stated. “He has categorically stated let’s erase every part and begin from scratch.”

Stitt stated he has met with about 14 tribes to debate renegotiating the compacts.

“I wouldn’t say it has been overly constructive, however very respectful,” Stitt stated. “The dialogue has been nice. They perceive my place. They clearly are advocating for their very own place that these compacts auto renew.”

Stitt stated he has talked with authorized counsel concerning the situation, including that “no contracts renew in perpetuity.”

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