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Last week on Thursday, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced that from 1st January 2020, tribal casinos in the state would require to renew their contract to operate class III gaming. According to Tulsa World, Stitt, the tribes ought to seek legal contracts to operate class III games beyond that date. Chickasaw Nation, the Oklahoma gaming giant, complained to the US Interior Department about Stitt demand, which it termed as intolerable to the tribe and their reserved gaming rights.

Stalled Negotiations

Casino.org has reported that negotiations between the state and the tribes stalled after starting late in October. The tribe claimed that the agreement signed in 2004 by the 35 tribes was to automatically rollover upon expiration on 1st January. The claim is supported by Brad Henry, former Oklahoma governor, who negotiated the compact with the tribes. He said the agreement was to go beyond the first term.

According to the original compact, the renewal license is only necessary if the operators will be authorized to conduct electronic gaming in other forms, apart from the pari-mutuel live horse racing wagering.

According to the tribes’ lawyer, the law favors them; this is after the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission authorized all horse tracks gaming for the calendar year 2020, which included electronic gaming.

Cash Squeeze

Oklahoma tribal casinos are the second wealthiest in the US, and Gov. Stitt wants more revenue from them. Last year, the tribes paid $138.6 million to the state out of an income of $2.3 billion. Stitt claimed that Oklahoma tribes pay the lowest rates in the US. According to Forbes, the states get 4 percent to 6 percent of gross gaming revenue in slots and electronic gaming. For table gaming, the state receives 10 percent of the tax, comparing that with Arizona and Minnesota, Oklahoma tribes pay much better.

Law and Logic

Governor Stitt wants 25 percent on class III gaming revenue, the tribe is ready for negotiations, but it is unclear what the state will bring to the table.

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