Attorney General Mike Hunter withdraws from tribal gaming compact discussions

AG Mike Hunter (copy) (copy)
AG Mike Hunter (copy) (copy)

has notified the Governor’s Office that he is withdrawing from negotiations on tribal gaming compacts. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file Stitt believes they expire Jan. 1, is seeking a higher rate and said Class III gaming will be illegal without a new compact.

Earlier this year, Stitt asked Hunter to represent the state. Hunter in October met with tribes at a casino near Shawnee, but no resolution was reached.

“Under Article VI, Section 8 of the Oklahoma Constitution and 74.0.S. S1221, the governor is given authority to enter into agreements with the federally recognized tribes,” said Alex Gerszewski, a spokesman for Hunter. “Accordingly, the attorney general and the governor have agreed to return the lead agency over tribal gaming compact negotiations to the Governor’s Office. This will allow the governor and his legal counsel to negotiate directly with tribes to hopefully develop a path forward.”

The tribes pay the state exclusivity fees ranging from 4 percent to 10 percent to operate Class III gaming, which last fiscal year generated about $150 million for the state. In an opinion piece, Stitt said “most” tribal compacts nationwide include gaming exclusivity fees that pay states 20% to 25%, compared to the 4% to 6% that Oklahoma gets from its compacts which were agreed upon more than a decade ago. A state lacks jurisdiction over tribes. A compact is essentially an agreement between the state and a tribe where the state offers the tribe substantial exclusivity in certain areas in exchange for payments. Since 2004, the state […]

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