Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s showdown with the state’s tribes doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. The Governor recently said that the tribes must resolve their dispute related to their compacts or some of their gambling operations will be considered illegal from January 1, 2020.
Could the dispute be solved quickly?
It seems unlikely that the states and tribes will strike an agreement anytime soon, especially with the January 1 deadline so near. The state and tribes have been fighting over the gambling compacts for months. The tribes suggest that the compacts should renew automatically on January 1 for a period of 15 years. However, Gov. Stitt suggests that they will only be valid until December 31, 2019.
Stitt wants to negotiate a new deal with the tribes. He insists that the tribal gambling tax should increase to 25%. The existing tax rate is 4 to 10% deducted from gambling profits. In other regions in the country, they are sharing more than 25%. The tribes are not ready to pay this fee and want to renew their previous contracts. They have also refused to strike any conversations with the state about acknowledging the possibility of a new contract.
Could legal action be taken?
According to Stitt, the case may demand legal action from the government. He said,
“So far we haven’t had much success in getting them to come to the table to negotiate. We have three weeks left. We are looking at all of our options. We may have to let the courts decide the issue.”
It appears that the sentiment among both parties is not positive, and the case is likely to see resolution in court. Stitt suggests that he is going to do his best to ensure that the state gets more out of the gambling pacts. Some commercial operators have reportedly contacted him to pay an 18% tax on Class III games in the states. This would help in improving state tax revenue as well. The governor didn’t reveal which of the companies have given him an offer and which executives he had talked to.
The state will have to find a solution to the problem as soon as possible in order to keep its revenue intact. However, it would have to do so without interfering with the tribal gambling law. However, we should not expect the legal proceedings to come with a positive outcome.