Kevin Stitt, tribes, poker faces
Leaders of the Chickasaw, Cherokee and Choctaw nations sued Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt in federal court on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. (Mike Allen)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and leaders of local tribal nations have played their high-stakes game to a virtual stalemate now, neither side abandoning their poker faces or admitting a bluff. Their disagreement — which centers on whether the Model Tribal Gaming Compact automatically renews — seems like a big gamble for Stitt in particular, as he wagering a lot of political capital on game with inexact (fiscal) stakes. But the state’s largest tribes also appear to have a lot (of money) on the line, spending liberally on TV ads recently and over the past decade.

Perhaps as a result, public opinion seems to be in the Tribes corner, at least on social media. But a recent SoonerPoll found likely voters are roughly split on whether tribal casinos remit enough of their revenues to the state of Oklahoma. That’s a different question, however, than what the public thinks about auto-renewal question or who the public trusts on this issue.

A federal lawsuit filed against Stitt on New Year’s Eve by leaders of the Chickasaw, Cherokee and Choctaw nations will finally put everyone’s cards on the legal table, which is virtually overflowing with chips as is.

What will the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma flip over for the turn?

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