Oklahoma attorney general joins lawsuit over tribal gambling agreements

Stitt tried to renegotiate gambling compacts in 2019.
Stitt tried to renegotiate gambling compacts in 2019.

Gentner Drummond has notified governor Kevin Stitt that he will join the suit to represent the interests of the state.

US.- Oklahoma’s new Republican attorney general Gentner Drummond has accused governor Kevin Stitt of failing to comply with state law as he enters a longstanding legal dispute over tribal gaming agreements signed by the governor in 2020.

Drummond said he has notified Stitt that he will join the lawsuit to represent the interests of the state at the request of House Speaker Charles McCall and Acting Senate President Greg Treat.

“As you should fully understand, this long running and costly litigation is a direct result of your refusal to follow Oklahoma law,” Drummond wrote. “The four tribal gaming compacts you signed were invalid from the start because you did not have the approval or authorization from the Oklahoma Legislature to enter the gaming compacts.”

The Cherokee, Citizen Potawatomi, Chickasaw and Choctaw nations filed a lawsuit in federal district court over the governor’s gaming compacts with four other tribes: the Otoe-Missouria, the Kialegee Tribal City, the Comanche Nation, and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians. Stitt entered into the agreements after his failed attempt, in 2019, to renegotiate the gambling compacts of Oklahoma-based tribes, seeking a greater revenue share for the state.

He argued that the compacts approved by voters in 2004 had expired. However, a federal judge sided with the tribes and ruled the compacts automatically renewed. Since then, Stitt’s relationship with tribal leaders has continued to worsen, prompting criticism from fellow Republicans about his hostile approach to tribal negotiations. Private law firms hired by Stitt to defend the pacts have racked up nearly $600,000 in legal fees, Drummond says.

See also: Oklahoma House passes tribal sports betting bill

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