Four tribes in Oklahoma sue over gambling agreements

The Oklahoma Supreme Court already declared the two gaming compacts null last month.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court already declared the two gaming compacts null last month.

Four Oklahoma tribes have filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Kevin Stitt and the US Department of the Interior.

US.- The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Citizen Potawatomi nations have filed a lawsuit that seeks to void two gambling compacts made between state governor Kevin Stitt and two other tribes: the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouira Tribe.

The agreements would in effect permit those two tribes to provide wagering on sporting events and house-banked card and table games.

The lawsuit argues that the governor did not have the authority to enter the compacts under the 1988 federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court had already deemed the two gambling agreements null last month, since such games are prohibited by state law, but the four tribes aim to have them declared invalid under federal law.

Attorneys for the four tribes said: “While the Oklahoma Supreme Court has declared those agreements invalid under Oklahoma law, their validity under Federal law must also be addressed to avoid damage to the integrity of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”

The lawsuit also claims The Department of the Inferior was complicit in allowing the agreements to be made and taking no action to disapprove them.

Chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, Matthew L. Morgan, said: “Governor Stitt never had the legal authority to enter into these gaming agreements.

“The decision of the Oklahoma Supreme Court to declare those agreements invalid under Oklahoma law supported our position. Hopefully the suit filed today will bring an end to this unnecessary and costly chapter and allow all the state and tribal governments to move back to a proper government-to-government relationship that includes honest and respectful communications for the betterment of all of Oklahoma.”

Rread more about legal issues involving tribal gaming in California and Oregon.