Governor Kevin Stitt hired an out-of-state law firm to represent him in the Oklahoma tribal gambling dispute. The Seattle-based Perkins Cole will advise the government office as the governor tries to renegotiate the state’s gaming deals with the Native American tribes.
The contract with the law firm is for legal services up to a maximum of $300,000. It allows attorney fees to a maximum of $750 an hour. Governor Stitt told a Pay Per Head Bookie that it is common for states to retain lawyers as consultants in specialized areas or complicated disputes. His office stated that Perkins Cole worked on the New Mexico gaming deals.
The state and the tribes are negotiating the existing compacts that allow gambling exclusively at tribe-owned casinos. The contracts expired on January 1. Stitt told PricePerPlayer.com that compacts expired and casinos are now illegal in Oklahoma.
The tribes argued that all conditions were met for the compacts to renew for another 15 years. As a result, they sued the state government in federal court to resolve the dispute. At present, it is business as usual for the 130 casinos operating in the state.
The Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw nations filed the lawsuit in federal court to seek declarations that the compacts renewed automatically during the New Year. Also, they claimed that the governor couldn’t interfere with tribal gaming operations.
According to pay per head bookie sources, tribal gaming compacts allow tribes to run games such as roulette, craps, and slot machines if they pay exclusivity fees to the state. The treaties don’t affect Class II gaming and card gaming.
In 2019, Oklahoma got $148 million worth of exclusivity fees from tribes. It was almost $10 million from the previous year. At present, compacts don’t include sports betting and online betting.