The Republican Governor of Oklahoma, Kevin Stitt, would like to see sports betting legal at two tribal-owned casinos. Stitt, a native of Norman, Okla., is a member of the Cherokee Nation and only the second Native American Governor in the state.
Stitt has been working with a gaming committee to get a sports betting bill passed through the Oklahoma House and Senate. Stitt says that through compact negotiations, two tribal casinos are on their way to having sports betting.
However, there has been a quiet feud brewing behind the scenes between Stitt and Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter. Hunter released a scathing criticism of the Governor’s intentions and is claiming that sports betting is not legal despite what the Governor thinks.
Hunter’s statement read in part, “The agreements signed today between Governor and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and the Comanche Nation are not authorized by the state Tribal Gaming Act. Title 3A Section 261 et. sec. The Governor has the authority to negotiate compacts with the tribes on behalf of the state.
“However, only gaming activities authorized by the act may be the subject of a tribal gaming compact. Sports betting is not a prescribed covered game under the act.”
Stitt Says Not So Fast To Hunter’s Rebuke
Hunter said on Thursday that he knows the law, of course, and this is not a personal issue with Governor Stitt, but “the law is the law.” Governor Stitt said on Thursday that the matter has been thoroughly vetted through his own legal team to make sure all of the legalities have been ironed out.
Stitt said, “I’m staying in my lane. I know that these compacts are totally legal and in accordance with the Tribal Gaming compact.”
Stitt was a CEO at Gateway Mortgage Company before throwing his hat into the political arena. Stitt said that the compacts he and his team negotiated with the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and the Comanche Nation are completely in step with the rules and regulations of the Tribal Gaming Act.
Beside this infighting between the Governor and Hunter, there have been some rumblings from other parties in the state. Some groups who are opposed to only allowing sports betting at Tribal-owned casinos say it is not fair to others that want the opportunity to have sports betting operations in the state.
Governor Believes That Revenue From Sports Betting Good For State
Some have openly accused Stitt of being partial to Native Americans because he is Native American. Stitt has said he’s not going to even try to defend himself and his position on Oklahoma sports betting and that his chief concern is what is good for the people of Oklahoma.
Some of the elements of the compact that Stitt negotiated say, “For the avoidance of doubt, even if it should that the State’s conduct of event wagering is in violation of the State’s obligations, if any, under compacts with Oklahoma Tribes, such a finding shall have no effect on the Tribe’s right to engage in event wagering.”
New Mexico is the only state that has tribes operating casinos without being legally bound to the state’s gaming laws. Under the terms of the compact, the Otoe-Missouria and the Comanche tribes will have a broad range of sports betting options they can offer their customers.
The compact also implies that the two tribes can have sports betting apps and offer their fans and visitors sports betting. Sports betting will be allowed on all sports except Oklahoma college games, and it also allows sports betting on Esports.