Deemed a "wronghead" resolution by AG

Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission turns down gov. resolution against auto-renewal of gaming compacts

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Attorney General Gentner Drummond
Reading time 1:08 min

The nine-member Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission has voted no on a resolution sought by Gov. Kevin Stitt which called for the body not to allow tracks to offer gaming machines or share in the participating tribal fund revenue starting January 1, 2035, unless authorized by the governor.

The move followed Attorney General Gentner Drummond's advice to the commission not to adopt the "wrongheaded" resolution sought by the governor. 

"The recommendation of this office is that it is unenforceable, illegal, and would be wrongheaded for this commission to endorse that," Drummond said as reported by the Oklahoma VoiceHe said the board might not delegate its statutory responsibility.

According to Drummond, a resolution approved in 2024 would not be enforceable on a future commission, adding that his formal recommendation is for the commission to vote no on the resolution, which it did.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt

Stitts's request came after tribes successfully sued him to get a ruling that said the tribal gaming compacts were automatically renewed. Tribes pay the state exclusivity fees for the right to operate Class III gaming and non-house-banked card games. However, Stitt wanted to renegotiate the compacts and bring in more dollars to the state.

A federal judge in July 2020 ruled that because the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission on October 17, 2019, approved the final horse track gaming licenses, the compacts automatically renewed.

"No contract should exist in perpetuity," Stitt said after the vote. "That’s all I was addressing in the resolution. We cannot leave the state in a position of not being able to renegotiate those contracts," and added, "I wrongly assumed the AG would have wanted the best for the state."

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