Oklahoma governor says he won't appeal tribal gaming ruling

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said Friday he will not appeal a federal court ruling that the state’s tribal gaming compacts had automatically renewed on Jan. 1.

Stitt had argued the compacts — which define how much of their gambling revenue the tribes must pay to the state and which games are allowed — had expired. But U.S. District Court Judge Timothy DeGiusti in July ruled against Stitt.

Last year, the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw nations had sued Stitt, wanting a judge to determine whether the state compacts that allow gambling exclusively at tribal casinos automatically renewed on Jan. 1 for another 15-year term.

Stitt said the state is facing “unprecedented uncertainty” as a result of July’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma. The ruling declared that a swath of eastern Oklahoma counties remains an Indian reservation.

“Therefore, it is essential for state and tribal leaders to join together to resolve the challenges this ruling presents for Oklahomans and their businesses,” Stitt said in a statement.

The governor urged all parties to work together “to find solutions that respect the unique relationship between the state of Oklahoma and its tribal citizens, and that provide certainty and fairness for all Oklahomans.”

A task force appointed by Stitt made no specific recommendations on Thursday in its report concerning the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The report instead calls for consistent laws and regulations in the state governing taxation, zoning and business regulations, which Stitt said will be up to Congress to provide.