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Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma Governor hired Law Firm to Fight Tribes in Casino Dispute

Kevin Stitt has hired an out-of-state law company to take over his legal dispute with the states three state’s tribes over casino contracts. Gov. Stitt appointed Seattle-based Perkins Coie to assist him to fight the tribes’ attempt to endure their casino operations without having to renegotiate their contracts with the state. The Governor maintains that the contract expired on December 31, 2019.

Mark Burget, Gov. Stitt’s general counsel, signed a contract with Perkins Coie for legal services that amount to $300,000. The agreement signed on behalf of Oklahoma’s best official also sanctioned fees of up to $750 per hour. Gov. Stitt spokeswoman Donelle Harder said that it is a mutual practice for states to pursue outside counsel in “complex arguments or specialized areas” and that Perkins Coie lawyers already have knowledge with tribal gaming contract disputes as they had worked on a similar issue in New Mexico. 

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Kevin Stitt – Casino Compacts Dispute

Oklahoma’s Cherokee, Chickasaw, and also Choctaw nations filed a federal claim seeking a declaratory ruling that their 15-year contracts with the state routinely renewed for 15 more years on the 1st of January 2020. Oklahoma electorates approved tribal casinos in 2004. In 2006, the state’s tribes went to sign a 15-year gaming compact, under which these would restart automatically once their term has expired. Unless one of the tribes or the state demanded to renegotiate the contracts within the six months of their end.

Business as Usual for Oklahoma’s Tribal Casinos

Gov. Stitt told the state’s lawfully recognized tribes that he wants to renegotiate the terms of their contract In July 2019. He also warned that any let-down to reach new-fangled agreements would mean that casino-style bookmaking would become unlawful in the state from the 1st of January 1, 2020.

The state’s tribal casinos presently pay between 4% and 6% on proceeds from their Class III slot machines. Also, up to 10% on table games revenue in exchange for casino selectness. The state received about $1.5 billion in exclusiveness fees from its over 100 tribal casinos in the past 15 years.

Nevertheless, Gov. Stitt said that he wanted the betting venues to pay between 20% and 25% in snootiness fees. If the tribes bend to these rates, which is extremely unlikely, Oklahoma would be one of the expensive places in the USA to conduct casino gaming activities.


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