Gov. Kevin Stitt faces an uphill fight as he tries to renegotiate gaming compacts with Oklahoma Native American tribes.

While both sides, Stitt’s office and the many tribes in Oklahoma, have said they would be willing to talk, according to Oklahoma Watch, there is some question about what will happen when the compacts, negotiated by former Gov. Brad Henry and former state Treasurer Scott Meacham, expire on Jan. 1, 2020.

Stitt’s office maintains they will expire then, while tribes say they will renew automatically, according to Oklahoma Watch. Both sides claim to have the law on their side. We will just have to wait and see how that question is resolved.

A lot of money is at stake. Last year, Oklahoma collected near $139 million in gaming fees, according to Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

Stitt would like discussions to start by early September, according to Oklahoma Watch. He has even said bringing in a mediator is a possibility.

We can’t blame Stitt for wanting to renegotiate the deals and bring more money into state coffers. We also can’t blame the tribes for wanting to keep things as they are. Of the state’s 38 federally recognized tribes, 34 have gaming compacts.

As we said, Stitt faces an uphill fight, but he’s also one not to give up. The tribes, too, seem set on their position.

We hope negotiations, if they take place, are respectful and come to a result that works for the state and the tribes.

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