hief U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti ordered Monday that Gov. Kevin Stitt and Native American tribes mediate their legal dispute over the casino compacts, which give tribes the exclusive right to operate casinos in Oklahoma.
Attorneys for Gov. Stitt filed a petition last month requesting the court to declare the tribes’ operation of Class III electronic games illegal and that a trust is set up for the state to receive its share of the revenue from the tribes' operation of the games while the matter is being litigated.
The filing was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Chickasaw, Cherokee and Choctaw nations, three of the state’s most powerful Native American tribes. Stitt contended the gaming compacts (the agreement under which the state’s casinos operate) expired on Jan. 1 and that casino gambling after that date became illegal.
Tribal leaders have said they're willing to renegotiate the fees they pay but first want Stitt to acknowledge their position that the compact automatically renews.
The disagreement has resulted in a lawsuit and now mediation, KTUL reports. The judge issued an order in the Western District of Oklahoma that the mediation be “completed or substantially completed” by the end of March.
The parties to the lawsuit were ordered to submit a list of possible mediators by Friday for appointment by the court; to provide a mediation update within three weeks of the appointment of a mediator; and to split the cost of the mediator.