Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt Says Commercial Casinos Better for State, Tribes Question His Ancestry
Posted on: March 2, 2020, 09:42h.
Last updated on: March 2, 2020, 11:22h.
Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt says bringing in commercial casinos to the state would provide more tax money than the current tribal gaming facilities provide.
Stitt remains engulfed in a bitter dispute with a dozen Oklahoma tribes regarding their compacts that allow them to operate Class III gaming – slot machines and table games. The Republican Governor argues their 15-year gaming compacts expired on January 1, while the Native Americans claim the revenue-sharing arrangements automatically renewed.
Last month, a federal judge ordered the tribes and Stitt to enter mediation. US Western District Court Chief Judge Timothy DeGiusti said the two sides must resolve the matter by March 31.
Stitt is threatening to welcome in commercial casino operators if the tribes aren’t willing to increase the amount of casino win they share with the state. Under the compacts reached back in 2004, the 35 Oklahoma tribes that operate casinos direct between four to six percent of their slot machine win and 10 percent of their table game revenue to Oklahoma City.
Stitt wants the tribal casinos to greatly increase the amount of gambling money they share. He’s suggested at least 25 percent of their slot machine gross gaming revenue goes to the state government.
The state received $138.59 million from tribal gaming last year. Eighty-eight percent goes to public education.
Let me bring commercial casinos in, give out just four commercial licenses, and it would be $350 million to the state,” Stitt opined last week.
“I think there’s a win-win. There’s a win for the casino industry, there’s a win for the tribes, and there’s a win for the state of Oklahoma and education,” the governor added.
Stitt was walking a fine line with a current court gag order that requires the parties involved in the tribal gaming dispute from commenting publicly on the status of the mediation process.
For Oklahoma to authorize commercial casinos, legislation or an initiative petition would need to pass, and a host of regulations be decided. Such an act would also mean the state would likely no longer legally possess the power to force the tribes to share any of their casino revenue.
Tribes Question Ancestry
Stitt is himself a member of the Cherokee Nation, one of the most powerful Native American groups in Oklahoma. His decision to go after more money from the tribes has been much criticized within Native American communities across the Sooner State.
“Gov. Stitt’s affiliation with the tribe, I think he used that as a talking point, not so much as a substantive appreciation of what his actual heritage is,” said Rep. Collin Walke (D-Oklahoma City), a Cherokee Nation citizen and co-chair of the state’s Native American legislative caucus.
“It’s one thing to be able to claim a heritage, and it’s a whole other thing to respect what that heritage means,” Walke added. Stitt says he’s doing what’s in the best interest of all Oklahomans.
“I don’t begrudge them for fighting for a good deal for themselves,” Stitt explained. “But guys, this is not a good deal. I would not be doing a good job as governor if I rubber stamped a contract that goes on forever.”
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Last Comments ( 4 )
Pls pls bring in commercial gaming also a Trump Casino. It’s time the Tribes has some honest competition rather than no regulation gaming (they regulate themselves hahahahhahah what a joke )
Simple Competition always benefits the public The tribes show that greed crosses all racial barriers. They have made a tick under 1 trillion since 88 all fed tax free
I am all for commercial gaming coming into the state.
This is not ok. Why is this Republican acting like a Democrat when in terms of Indian casino monies?!! Trying to take what's not his and "give to the state" These are not your funds to negotiate when governing Oklahoma. I am 1/4 Kickapoo Native American. I am the LAST of a Native blood line that my tribe will record and issue a tribal# with my CDIB. My children can coattail off of my tribal # until they are 18 and receive free medical care but then after the age of 18 they will never be acknowledged by our tribe. I get 100 giftcard at Christmas and free medical while being native. This is alot to due with the funding of casinos. When finely given approval to build something to fund our people with a small cut to the state and government THEY WANT MORE!! It is not any Native American nor their tribes casinos fault the state didn't properly distribute the funs they received in a manner that would benefit the state instead of personal gain. Am I wrong? More than half of the funds goes to colleges? Colleges in which we pay out of pocket go to? Classes?, dorms?, tuition?... The lowest % goes to grade school academic. The free classes k-12 So just say 100 is made 60 bucks goes to colleges that WE pay for our kids to go in debt for a degree. While maybe 10 bucks goes to the grade school level to produce the kids to go to college, cutting votech, arts, and mind expanding activities. Or in other words grants for paid college. So governer Stitt says the Indians make to much casino funds and the state should benefit more if the funds were rewritten from the orginal agreement. I call bull shit with his well I'm indian claim. Being from Florida has he or his children ever used benefits from his tribe? Did his children need clothing vouchers for school clothes or supplies? Has he gone to the Indian clinic for a checkup because of no insurance? These services are available because of the funds from casinos. The original holders of the land we call America (Native Americans) all these Republicans wanting a "wall" to keep out Fourniers but yet most of your family and great grandparents came here the same way now you want to build a wall to keep out. Then in the same paragraph acting like a "democratic" wanting something that's not yours cause that guy has more now you want some. Go by the orginal agreement go regroup the percentage you get and distribute the funds to where the state and school all benefit. Not just line everyone's pockets.