OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (TNN) - The Oklahoma Attorney General says Governor Kevin Stitt does not have the authority to enter into compacts with tribes which authorize gaming prohibited by state law.
The opinion issued by Attorney General Mike Hunter was requested by State House and Senate leaders in the state after Stitt announced the agreement last month.
The compact Stitt announced allowed sports gambling for the first time at Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe casinos in the state. Hunter has asked U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Berhardt to reject the agreement because the agreements are not authorized by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and should be decided by state law.
“Because the Governor lacks authority to ‘enter into’ the agreements he has sent to you, those agreements fail to meet the requirements of IGRA to constitute a valid gaming compact under federal law,” Attorney General Hunter wrote. “How a state enters into a gaming compact with a tribe, including whether the Governor may do so unilaterally in contravention of state statute, is a core concern of the state’s constitutional structure and is therefore a matter of state law.”
Hunter also says in his letter that he believes the agreement Stitt announced will be harmful to the state’s relationship with tribes in the state. He says approval of the agreements by the federal government will only “cause greater confusion and uncertainty about how state-tribal relations should be appropriately conducted.”