Tribal leaders stand united against governor’s gaming extension

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TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – Leaders from 32 of the 35 tribes gathered today in Tulsa to make it loud and clear they stand united against the Governor's extension, some calling it the governor`s self-created crisis.

Governor Kevin Stitt released an eight-month extension document for tribal gaming in Oklahoma, asking all tribal leaders to sign. Those leaders fired back, saying not a chance.

“My hope is that Governor Stitt will look at his stance, the way he proceeded to go about this negotiation, and apologize for the way he went about it,” one leader said.

The tribes want to avoid a multi-year legal battle. Both parties are going head-to-head over the gaming compact. That agreement, just last year, generated millions of dollars.

“The compact has been win-win. It has benefited both the tribes and the state. It has produced more than $1.5 billion in exclusivity fees to the state of Oklahoma since 2006,” said another leader.

Stitt set on the fact the compacts expire at the start of the new year, and the tribes and his office needs to work out a new deal, reminding people Class III gaming will be illegal without another signed agreement. Stitt released a statement after Thursday’s press conference.

“The State offered the extension to protect the parties’ legal positions and to provide legal certainty to those working with or visiting the casinos as the January 1, 2020, deadline approaches,” said Gov. Stitt. “I am disappointed that the tribes turned our offer down and refused our requests to negotiate new compact terms that better address the parties’ changing needs. I will continue to work to protect the State’s interests, and I hope that those running the casino industry will negotiate with the State in good faith as these compacts demand.”

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