Oklahoma Gov. Stitt Signs Two New Gaming Compacts With The Otoe-missouria Tribe And Comanche Nation
(STL.News) – Governor Kevin Stitt joined Otoe-Missouria Tribe Chairman John Shotton and Comanche Nation Chairman William Nelson today in signing two new gaming compacts.
The following are the Governor’s remarks at the signing ceremony as prepared for delivery:
Governor Stitt’s remarks for the Otoe-Missouria Tribe Signing Ceremony
This is a historic day for the State of Oklahoma and for our tribal partners who are here with me today. As an Oklahoman and a tribal citizen, it has been my heart’s desire to provide a level playing field for all 4 million Oklahomans and to ensure meaningful opportunities for all 38 federally recognized tribes that call our state home.
Today the State is announcing that we have reached two agreements for new gaming compacts. The first is with the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Chairman John Shotton.
Chairman Shotton, thank you for being here today.
The OtoeTribe has called Oklahoma home for more than a century. This tribe of 3,000 citizens is known for their resilience and deep faith. Chairman Shotton has led his tribe for more than 13 years, and his entrepreneurial spirit has allowed the Otoes to build a strong economic engine for all its citizens through banking, retail ventures, agriculture and more.
The State is grateful and honored to partner the Otoe-Missouria Tribe as we establish a modernized gaming compact:
· that expands opportunities for our tribal partners,
· that enhances revenue for the State from Class III and Covered Games, and
· that will strengthen State-Tribal relations for generations to come
From day one, I have said that I want a win-win for everyone in Oklahoma. With the new gaming compact, we have accomplished four central goals:
· first, to create certainty and clarity around the value of exclusivity;
· second, to establish competitive, market fees that benefit both the tribes and the State;
· third, to expand gaming in a responsible way that allows tribes to maximize new technology and enhancements utilized in gaming markets across the nation;
· and fourth, to establish clear rules of the road for how each party is to comply with the compact, thereby keeping healthy relationships between the State and the Tribes.
This was not a take it or leave it compact from the State or the Tribe; it was a negotiated compact.
I want to introduce Chairman Shotton to deliver a few words before we sign our new gaming compact.
Governor Stitt’s remarks for the Comanche Nation Signing Ceremony
Today, the State is also honored to welcome the Comanche Nation, the Comanche Nation’s tribal leaders, Chairman William Nelson, and Vice Chairwoman LaNora Parker.
Thank you, all, for being here today as we sign this historic gaming compact between the State and the Comanche Nation.
The Comanche Nation is often characterized as “Lord of the Plains.” They are a dominant empire that ruled over much of the plains across Western Oklahoma and into the Texas Panhandle. They are the historical stewards of these lands. Today, the Comanche Nation recognizes 10,000 tribal citizens and has been a leader in economic development in Lawton, Oklahoma and the surrounding region.
It is no coincidence that standing here today are two tribes, who together, reflect the broad diversity of Oklahoma’s tribal citizens and demonstrate the importance of the State’s recognition of each 38-federally recognized tribe as an equal Sovereign.
As I mentioned a moment ago, this modernized gaming compact expands opportunities for our tribal partners, enhances revenue for the State from Class III and Covered Games, and will strengthen State-Tribal relations for generations to come.
Each gaming compact has unique elements, to include individual flat-rate gaming fees on Class III games and Covered Games. This new fee structure recognizes the dynamic nature of each tribe’s market share, recognizing their geographic location and access to population centers.
Moving forward, the State will continue to negotiate with individual tribes, leaving behind the one-size-fits-all approach to the Model Gaming Compact.
It is important to me that Oklahoma is a Top Ten state. This will require for us to eliminate the well-meaning, but ineffective, systems that end up benefiting only a few. I am working to guarantee that every Oklahoman and every tribe has access to opportunities that are obtainable when we work together.
Today, we will be sending these two new gaming compacts to the Department of Interior to be ratified. And as we wait, I am committed to continuing productive conversations with all of Oklahoma’s tribes.