- By Native News Online Staff
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has asked a federal court to stop American Indian tribes from operating Class III gaming in Oklahoma.
Stitt’s legal filing yesterday is in response to a federal lawsuit filed by three powerful Oklahoma tribes a month ago. The Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Oklahoma. The suit seeks a judicial declaration that the gaming compacts they have with the state automatically renew in accord with their terms, effective January 1, 2020.
The tribes continue to operate Class III gaming, despite Gov. Stitt’s contention that the compacts expired January 1. Class III gaming includes roulette, craps and certain slot machines.
Stitt’s response to the tribes’ lawsuit was filed Wednesday. In the legal filing, he asks the court to declare the compacts did not automatically renew and that the tribes are violating federal and state laws by continuing to operate the Class III games. He is seeking a court-ordered injunction to stop the tribes from operating the Class III games.
“We are reviewing the pleading his lawyers filed on his behalf and look forward to learning what legal basis he will claim to justify the uncertainty he has endeavored to create,” Chickasaw Nation Senior Counsel Stephen Greetham told the Associated Press.
The gaming compacts at issue require tribes to pay the state “exclusivity fees” of between 4% and 10% on gambling revenue in exchange for exclusivity rights to operate casinos in Oklahoma. The exclusivity fees paid by tribes generated nearly $139 million for the state last year, with most of it earmarked for education funding.
More Stories Like ThisAmerican Basketball Association Announces Native ABA Initiative
Four Winds South Bend Upgrades to Class III Gaming Casino
Native News Online Wins Two Awards from Native American Journalists Association
Wahlberg Brothers Are a Big Hit at Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in Las Vegas
Native Gro Offers Tribes a ‘One-Stop Shop’ for Entering the Cannabis Industry
Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news?
For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked. Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10. Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.