Tribes oppose 2 Oklahoma tribes joining casino lawsuit

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
02/26/2020 04:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Oklahoma Native American tribes suing the state over tribal gambling compacts oppose requests by two tribes to intervene in the lawsuit.

The Dec. 31 lawsuit by the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw nations asks a federal judge to determine whether compacts allowing gambling exclusively at tribal casinos automatically renewed Jan. 1.

Mediation was ordered after Gov. Kevin Stitt asked the judge to order the casinos to stop offering certain games, including electronic and table games.

Several tribes intervened, but oppose intervention by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Kialegee Tribal Town, saying they have no valid claim.

“UKB and Kialegee do not conduct gaming pursuant to (Indian Gaming and Regulatory Act) Compacts and are not developing any projects to engage in gaming,” as do the tribes in the lawsuit, according to the Feb. 18 motion, first reported by The Oklahoman.

It also notes the UKB and Kialegee have signed compact extensions with the state.

An attorney for the two tribes did not immediately return a phone call Sunday for comment.

The motions to intervene say the tribes seek to protect their “inherent sovereignty” and determine how their rights are defended in mediation.

The two tribes were to respond by Feb. 25.

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