Analysis

Oklahoma Gov. accepts court ruling on tribal compacts

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt accepted a federal court ruling that the state’s tribal gaming compacts had automatically renewed on January 1 this year for their 15-year term that will see them expire in 2035.

Stitt had argued that  the compacts had expired on December 31 and signed new compacts with the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Comanche Nation tribes. 

The new arrangement would have enabled the tribes to offer sports betting to their customers on their casino premises. 

If enacted, the regulation would have moved Oklahoma from T18th to tied T13th on the Wedge Index.   

However, both tribes were opposed by the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw nations as part of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, which sued the governor and threw both tribes out of the trade body.

The tribes employ many tribal members and their priorities are to their communities. Any disruption to their mode of operation is approached very cautiously. 

On the whole, they also aim to work unanimously as a united body, which explains why they brought the lawsuit against the governor.     

Slow regulation 

The decision not to appeal the ruling should enable plans to regulate sports betting to move forward in the state. However, these things also tend to move slowly where the tribes are concerned.     

Still, now that the lawsuit is settled tribal leaders are expected to look at options for new betting offerings.

However, there is no guarantee of success or that features such as online or remote registration would feature in the final legislation.

This is because tribes have always looked at online gaming and betting as risks to their land-based casino activities.  

In a statement, Gov. Stitt said: “It is essential for state and tribal leaders to join together to resolve the challenges this ruling presents for Oklahomans and their businesses.”

He urged all parties to work together “to find solutions that respect the unique relationship between the state of Oklahoma and its tribal citizens, and that provide certainty and fairness for all Oklahomans.”

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Jake Pollard

Jake Pollard is an experienced journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and betting industry for many years. He has written for the leading media outlets as well as operators and suppliers in the igaming space. His current areas of focus are wide-ranging and include regulatory developments in the US, emerging markets in South America and how European countries are adapting to a decade of igaming regulation.

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