Oklahoma casinos could have sportsbooks depending on this trial.

  • The validity of the new Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes gaming compacts that allow legal sports betting in Oklahoma got its first court appearance on Wednesday.
  • Oklahoma maintains that Governor Kevin Stitt, who greenlit Tribal sportsbooks does not have the authority to do so making the new Tribal gaming compacts null and void.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Kevin Stitt, the Governor of Oklahoma, may have overplayed his hand as his approval of tribal gaming compacts that included legal sports betting are now being contested in Oklahoma’s Supreme Court.

With the trial beginning on Wednesday, the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria tribes acquired these new compacts, that became active on Monday, which were negotiated by Stitt himself.

But the state argues that Governor Stitt is not legally allowed to make such a decision on his own, bypassing the legislative process entirely.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) was given the standard 45-day period to review the compacts drawn up by Stitt and his team but took no action which allowed the new agreements to become binding.

Due to this development, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office, as well as other powerful lawmakers, have decided to dispute the validity of these documents in court.

A Court Case That Was A Long Time Coming

In April, Governor Stitt came up with these newer compacts for the tribes despite hearing opposition from Oklahoma’s Attorney General Mike Hunter at the time.

Hunter made it abundantly clear that Stitt did not have the authority to make sports betting legal by himself.

However, these compacts were written up as planned and both the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe took Stitt up on his updated proposals.

The remaining tribes in Oklahoma are happy with their old compacts and are taking the Governor to court in a separate case asking for the automatic renewal of their tribal gaming compacts, rather than needing a new and revised contract as Stitt has said is necessary.

While the new gaming additions, including sports betting and other previously prohibited options, will not begin with the enactment of the compact due to the court case surrounding it, the tribes will start paying a flat revenue rate on all gaming that is set at 4.5%.

That part of the compact has taken effect as of Monday. In the previous agreements, the revenue payments ranged anywhere from 4%-10% differing by the type of gaming that was being done.

The Arguments

The state of Oklahoma has a lot to say about the actions of Governor Stitt but the Governor’s counsel has a strong argument of their own.

Stitt’s various attorneys on the case say that he is well within his rights and the duties of his position to be able to negotiate tribal agreements such as this one on his own. But the laws in Oklahoma tell a different story as to what the Governor can and cannot do.

“Under the Oklahoma Constitution, the governor cannot amend the public policy of the State by unilaterally entering into agreements that authorize violations of state law,” said the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office. “The governor cannot unilaterally bind the state to the new agreements because, in doing so, he is not executing state law but instead is purporting to authorize violations of state law.”

What’s Next For Oklahoma Sports Betting?

The case held it’s opening arguments on Wednesday for what looks to be a long battle between Stitt and Oklahoma.

Until the trial is concluded and a final judgment is made, the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes will not be able to offer sports betting at their locations.

They can however continue to pay the state of Oklahoma their new lowered revenue flat rate which can be seen as a loss for the economy of the Sooner State.

The ongoing problems for legal Oklahoma sports betting to open press on. No matter what the outcome of this case will be, it won’t be a simple case closed type of situation as both sides will take the issue further if they are on the losing end.

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