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Negotiations Involving the Oklahoma Gaming Commission Continue Via Mediation Despite COVID-19 Outbreak

Wednesday, April, 8, 2020

Casinos throughout Oklahoma and across the country are currently shuttered due to the new coronavirus, but the negotiations regarding gaming contracts in Oklahoma City continue.  Some tribes report they received a compromise offer from the Governor’s attorneys recently after a letter was sent out offering a new compact to some of the tribes.


The offers in the new proposal include a 15-year fixed rate for all Class III gaming, the chance to offer sports betting, and the removal of restrictions on the table and card games.


Only tribes that are not currently suing the Governor received the letter.


The cases that are pending with the Muscogee and Cherokee Nations are currently being overseen by a mediator.   According to the gaming commission, the tribes that received the offer have already turned it down and intend to work in solidarity with the tribes that were not sent the offer.  Thirty-two of the 35 tribes in the state have been working together since December when they rejected the governor’s original assertion that the compacts expire.


According to the OIGA, there is a desire to re-negotiate the contracts, but there is no need to come up with an entirely new compact.  There is also no desire on their part to add sports betting, which was of interest to them in the past.


Both the governor’s office and the OIGA have both issued statements.  In part, the governor’s office stated “Since day one, the Governor has been committed to negotiating with every tribe in Oklahoma, no matter a tribe’s size or location, to achieve a win-win for the future of tribal gaming in our state.  The State has been aggressively communicating with every tribe in Oklahoma to advance a common-sense solution on Model Gaming Compacts.”


OIGA responded expressing its disappointment in the governor’s actions and said he was trying to take advantage of the tribes.