US – Oklahoma Governor signs sports betting deals with Otoe-Missouria and Comanche NationBy Phil - 22 April 2020
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has signed two new gaming compacts with Otoe-Missouria Tribe Chairman John Shotton and Comanche Nation Chairman William Nelson which will allow them to offer sports betting.
They will not be allowed to offer bets on collegiate games involving Oklahoma schools, nor college sports occurring within the state.
The Red Rock-based Otoe-Missouria Tribe already owns five casinos whilst Comanche Nation, based in Lawton, owns four. Under the new deal, the tribe’s current casinos will share between 4.5 per cent to six per cent of their gross gaming revenue (GGR) from slot machines and table games with the state. New casinos built by either tribe would see their tax on Class III gaming increase to as much as 13 per cent, dependent on net casino win.
Each new compact establishes clarity and certainty for each sovereign party; expands gaming opportunities for the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe, keeping in mind the dynamic, evolving nature of the gaming industry; provides for meaningful consideration for the State’s fee structure for class III games and table games for new locations; and strengthens compact transparency with clear auditing guidance and with new dispute resolution provisions.
Governor Stitt said: “This is a historic day for the State of Oklahoma and for our tribal partners. As an Oklahoman and a tribal citizen, it has been my heart’s desire to provide a level playing field for all 4 million Oklahomans and to ensure meaningful opportunities for all 38 federally recognized tribes that call our state home. The State is announcing that we have reached two agreements for new gaming compacts. The first is with the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Chairman John Shotton.
“The OtoeTribe has called Oklahoma home for more than a century. This tribe of 3,000 citizens is known for their resilience and deep faith. Chairman Shotton has led his tribe for more than 13 years, and his entrepreneurial spirit has allowed the Otoes to build a strong economic engine for all its citizens through banking, retail ventures, agriculture and more.
Governor Stitt added: “The State is grateful and honoured to partner the Otoe-Missouria Tribe as we establish a modernised gaming compact that expands opportunities for our tribal partners,, that enhances revenue for the State from Class III and Covered Games, and that will strengthen State-Tribal relations for generations to come. From day one, I have said that I want a win-win for everyone in Oklahoma. With the new gaming compact, we have accomplished four central goals: first, to create certainty and clarity around the value of exclusivity; second, to establish competitive, market fees that benefit both the tribes and the State; third, to expand gaming in a responsible way that allows tribes to maximise new technology and enhancements utilised in gaming markets across the nation; and fourth, to establish clear rules of the road for how each party is to comply with the compact, thereby keeping healthy relationships between the State and the Tribes. This was not a take it or leave it compact from the State or the Tribe; it was a negotiated compact.”
“The State is also honoured to welcome the Comanche Nation, the Comanche Nation’s tribal leaders, Chairman William Nelson, and Vice Chairwoman LaNora Parker. The Comanche Nation is often characterised as “Lord of the Plains.” They are a dominant empire that ruled over much of the plains across Western Oklahoma and into the Texas Panhandle. They are the historical stewards of these lands. Today, the Comanche Nation recognises 10,000 tribal citizens and has been a leader in economic development in Lawton, Oklahoma and the surrounding region.”
Each gaming compact has unique elements, to include individual flat-rate gaming fees on Class III games and Covered Games. This new fee structure recognises the dynamic nature of each tribe’s market share, recognising their geographic location and access to population centers. Moving forward, the State will continue to negotiate with individual tribes, leaving behind the one-size-fits-all approach to the Model Gaming Compact.
Governor Stitt added: “It is important to me that Oklahoma is a Top Ten state. This will require for us to eliminate the well-meaning, but ineffective, systems that end up benefiting only a few. I am working to guarantee that every Oklahoman and every tribe has access to opportunities that are obtainable when we work together. I believe that together we can build a stronger future for Oklahoma’s 4 million residents and for all the tribal citizens that call our great State home.”
The move has not been welcomed though by The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA).
OIGA Chair Matthew Morgan said: “Governor Stitt does not have the authority to do what he claims to have done today. Without the engagement of the Oklahoma legislature, he has entered agreements based on a claim of unilateral State authority to legalise sportsbooks, to revamp the Oklahoma Lottery, and to authorize new gaming facilities in Norman and Stillwater, among other places. That’s simply not the law.”