For Immediate Release
July 17, 2019
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party
ODP Statement on Tribal Gaming Compact Renegotiations
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Democratic Party Official Statement on the Renegotiation of Tribal Gaming Compacts:
In a July 5, 2019 letter to 35 federally recognized Oklahoma tribes, Governor Kevin Stitt announced his interpretation of the existing tribal-state gaming compacts and their upcoming 2020 expiration. In his letter, Governor Stitt suggests that the tribal-state gaming compacts do not automatically renew and instead must head to negotiation with the State demanding an increase upwards of 15-20% on exclusivity fees paid to the State by Oklahoma Tribes engaged in Class III gaming. The tribes of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association’s understand that the compacts will only head to negotiation if both sides are agreeable to such action. In the event there is no agreement to negotiate, the compacts will automatically renew for another 15-year term.
Over the past 15 years, Oklahoma tribes have paid to the State of Oklahoma over 1.5 billion dollars in exclusivity fees. These fees were supposed to have been earmarked for educational purposes and act as a supplement to educational funding provided by the State. Instead, the Republican-controlled legislature decreased base educational funding and chose to incentivize the oil and gas industry, provide corporate handouts, and remain beholden to special interests. Now, Stitt expects the tribes to make up for these disastrous Republican shortfalls.
The Oklahoma Democratic Party supports the 35 federally recognized tribes and the Oklahoma tribes that play a huge role in our state economy. From the thousands of Oklahomans they employ to the billion-dollar impact on Oklahoma tourism Oklahoma tribes have built casino operations with zero dollars of state support and without the State shouldering an ounce of the financial risk.
If Governor Stitt were truly interested in additional revenue sources, he would support a return to a 7% GPT and hold the Republican-Super-Majority legislation accountable for lack of sustaining revenue for nearly a decade that created our current economic crisis.
For more information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party, visit the party website at okdemocrats.org, or call party headquarters at 405-427-3366.