Question Submitted By Thompson, 030920 OKAG, 2020 OK AG 3

Docket Nº:2020 OK AG 3
Opinion Judge:MITHUN MANSINGHANI, SOLICITOR GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA
Party Name:Question Submitted by: The Honorable Roger Thompson, Oklahoma State Senate, District 8
Attorney:MIKE HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA
Case Date:March 09, 2020
Court:Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions
 
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2020 OK AG 3

Question Submitted by: The Honorable Roger Thompson, Oklahoma State Senate, District 8

No. 2020 OK AG 3

Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions

March 9, 2020

MIKE HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA

MITHUN MANSINGHANI, SOLICITOR GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA

I.

BACKGROUND

¶0 This office has received your request for an official Attorney General Opinion in which you ask, in effect, the following question: The required allocation of fees paid to the State pursuant to the Model Tribal Gaming Compact is set forth in 3A O.S.Supp.2019, § 280. The status of the Compacts is currently the subject of litigation, but covered gaming is ongoing and the associated fees continue to be paid to the State. In light of the uncertainty regarding the status of the Compacts--specifically whether they have expired or continue in effect--must the State continue to deposit the fees paid as set forth in 3A O.S.Supp.2019, § 280 ?

¶1 Under the State-Tribal Gaming Act, "of all fees received by the state pursuant to subsection A of Part 11 of the Model Tribal Gaming Compact: a. twelve percent (12%) shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund, and b. eighty-eight percent (88%) of such fees shall be deposited in the Education Reform Revolving Fund," with certain set amounts also going to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. 3A O.S.Supp.2019, § 280. Meanwhile, the referenced portion of the Model Tribal Gaming Compact--subsection A of Part 11--provides for the payment of fees to the State by Tribes in consideration for the "substantial exclusivity" enjoyed by the Tribes to conduct gaming in Oklahoma, and is conditioned on the State not authorizing additional gaming by other entities not contemplated by the Model Compact. See id. § 281, Part 11(A); see also id. at Part 11(E).

¶2 You have asked where state entities should deposit monies paid by Indian Tribes to the State generated by tribal gaming operations when the status of the Compacts is currently the subject of active litigation in federal court. See Cherokee Nation et al. v. Stitt, No. CIV-19-1198 (W.D. Okla.).

¶3 The litigation centers around the interpretation of Part 15(B) of the Model Tribal Gaming Compact, which provides: (1) This Compact shall have a term which will expire on January 1, 2020,

(2) and at that time, if organization licensees or others are authorized to conduct electronic gaming in any form other than pari-mutuel wagering on live horse racing pursuant to any governmental action of the state or court order following the effective date of this Compact, the Compact shall automatically renew for successive additional fifteen-year terms;

(3) provided that, within one hundred eighty (180) days of the expiration of this Compact or any renewal thereof, either the tribe or the...

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