The six Tribes locked in a legal dispute with Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt yesterday asked the federal court to dismiss Stitt’s counter claim that the continuous operation of Class III games after January 1, 2020, is illegal.
The Tribes also seek to bar Stitt’s counterclaims from being refiled.
Within their response, the Tribes articulated that they deny the compacts have expired. They contend they are conducting Class III gaming lawfully, because the compacts automatically renewed, per the terms of the 15-year compacts, in the new year.
Despite the fact that Western District Court Chief Judge Timothy DeGiusti on Monday ordered Oklahoma gaming Tribes and Stitt to participate in mediation, the Quapaw Nation has joined the lawsuit against Stitt.
Yesterday the Quapaw Nation became the sixth Tribe to challenge Stitt’s stance in a lawsuit filed December 31, 2019, by Oklahoma’s three largest Tribes: the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations. The Citizen-Potawatomi Nation and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s motions to intervene were also recently granted.
In Oklahoma, the Quapaw Nation operates Downstream Casino Resort and Quapaw Casino. Saracen Casino in Arkansas is the Tribe’s third gaming operation.
All Tribes have continued to forward exclusivity fees to the state in 2020. “As always, Tribal governments are bound by the compact, and will continue to abide by it,” said Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Chairman Matthew Morgan.