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Stitt seeks another hearing in tribal gaming agreements case

August 12, 2020 GMT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is seeking another hearing before the state Supreme Court regarding its recent ruling on tribal gaming compacts that deemed the state’s agreements with two Native American tribes invalid.

The state’s high court determined last month that Stitt’s compacts with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe were not valid because the Republican governor overstepped his authority by trying to greenlight sports betting and house-banked card and table games. The court’s July 21 ruling concluded that state law prohibits those types of games.

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On Wednesday, the Oklahoman reported that Stitt’s attorneys filed a request seeking a rehearing of the case to clarify whether parts of the compacts that do not conflict with state law remain valid. The attorneys also want the high court to explain the governor’s authority related to entering cooperative agreements with sovereign tribes.

“The governor does not seek here to revisit the court’s ultimate holding, but rather to clarify the extent of the holding as it relates to portions of the compacts at issue not inconsistent with the STGA (State Tribal Gaming Act) and his duty and obligation to negotiate and enter into tribal gaming compacts, as well as other kinds of cooperative agreements,” Stitt’s attorneys said.

Earlier this month, four Oklahoma tribes — the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Citizen Potawatomie Nations— filed a federal lawsuit asking for a declaration that the U.S. Department of Interior violated federal law by allowing Stitt’s agreements with the two tribes to take effect. The department approved the agreements in June.