TULSA — Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. fired back at comments made by Governor Kevin Stitt about the state's Indian gaming compact Tuesday.
In the morning, Gov. Stitt appeared on the KRMG Morning News with Dan Potter to discuss the first year of his administration (you can hear the entire conversation HERE).
The topic of his dispute with the tribes over the gaming compact came up, and he stated that his office possessed copies of letters from Oklahoma tribes indicating that like him, they believed the gaming compact expired on January 1, 2020.
Hoskin told KRMG that actually there were two such letters, sent years ago, both of which had since been disavowed by the tribes in question.
He also disputed the governor's claim that his nation operates a casino in Arkansas, where it pays a much higher rate than it pays in Oklahoma.
Hoskins said the Cherokee Nation does not operate in Arkansas, although they're competing for one of only four casino licenses available in that state.
Moreover, he argues with the governor's basic premise for the entire dispute.
“At the end of the day, we've always been willing to talk about rates,” Hoskin told KRMG. “The governor's misleading people if he says we're not.”
Because of how differently Arkansas operates gaming, he said, it's an “apples and oranges” comparison to gauge the tribe's Oklahoma operations.
He expressed optimism that the governor will eventually sit down and negotiate exclusivity fees, as is allowed under the current compact.
“No one is going to negotiate with a phony deadline over their heads, and they're not going to negotiate with threats being made,” he told KRMG. “We're just not going to do it.”