Editorial: Renegotiating gambling compacts

Here’s a story you won’t see mentioned in the liberal media.

Governor Mary Fallin is secretly negotiating a new gambling compact with the Osage Nation. The tribal gambling contracts, initially negotiated by former Gov. Brad Henry, are expiring and Fallin apparently wants to give the tribes a favorable renewal before she leaves office.

Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson, who is running for governor in 2018, thinks Fallin is overstepping her authority and Richardson has asked the attorney general for a legal opinion. Richardson thinks the new governor should oversee contract negotiations after the 2018 election.

“The current contract clearly states negotiations for the next compact can not begin until 180 days before its expiration on January 1, 2020,” Richardson said in a recent media interview. “Negotiations for a new compact are intended to be a power designated to whomever is Governor in 2019.  I’m confidant that will be me but, no matter who wins the election, Governor Fallin has no right or authority to negotiate terms of this compact during her tenure.”

Richardson is challenging any elected official to step forward and request that opinion from the attorney general.

Henry’s tribal gambling pacts are deeply flawed. Henry and gambling advocates promised a tax windfall from the casinos that has not materialized.

The liberal media, including the Tulsa World and local TV stations, protect the casinos from reports of how devastating this explosion of gambling has damaged Oklahoma. They won’t cover this because of all the revenue from gambling advertising.

These compacts should be a focus of the 2018 political discourse. Fallin should not be able to sell out Oklahomans in a lame-duck situation.