A contentious legal battle over Oklahoma’s tribal casino business is now taking place there. Gentner Drummond, the newly elected Republican attorney general, has now accused Governor Kevin Stitt of breaking the law by signing tribal gaming agreements in 2020.
Drummond claims that the Governor’s actions broke Oklahoma law, which sparked the present legal dispute. The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Citizen Potawatomi, and Choctaw Indian nations are the four Indian tribes that are parties to the federal case brought against the Governor. The case is focused on the Governor’s gaming agreement with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, the Comanche Nation, the Otoe-Missouria, the Kialegee Tribal Town, and the Comanche Nation.
Governor’s Attempt to Renegotiate Compacts Sparks Controversy
Government representatives and tribal chiefs disagreed over Governor Stitt’s attempt to revise the tribal compacts. In an effort to increase the state’s portion of the money from the Indian tribes, he attempted to alter the terms of the agreements. The Governor claimed that the 2004 compact was already over its expiration date but that all compacts were automatically renewed following their expiration, making his claims ineffective.
Since 2019, tensions between the Governor and tribal elders have become worse, and this most recent court fight has only made matters worse. The severe criticism Stitt received from certain Republican party members and his party colleagues sparked rumors that Stitt would not be the person handling future discussions with tribes.
Oklahoma’s Thriving Gambling Industry and Tribal Contributions
With more than 130 casinos of varying sizes and configurations, from little annex-style establishments atop petrol stations to opulent resorts and hotels, Oklahoma has become a well-known gambling powerhouse. The development of the gambling business was authorized by voters in 2004, which allowed casinos to proliferate in border towns.
Oklahoma’s economy is greatly influenced by tribal gambling, which also brings in a sizable amount of money for the state. The state received about $200 million in income from tribal casinos only last year, with a sizable amount of that money going toward improving public schools all around the state.
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