Osage among coalition to stop Fantasy Sports bill, still a threat

Letter to Chief Standing Bear from Chief Baker expresses gratitude and a united front to protect Indian Gaming in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (March 8, 2016)— Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear addresses Oklahoma legislators and tribal leaders about Osage successes, goals, and gaming concerns at the Oklahoma Caucus of Native American Legislators.

By ON Communications

PAWHUSKA, Okla. (March 16, 2016) Among a coalition of tribal leaders, Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear supported successful efforts to defeat the “Oklahoma Fantasy Contests Act” (HB 2278/SB 1396) on March 8 at the Oklahoma State Capitol during a regular meeting of the Oklahoma Caucus of Native American Legislators. The bill aims to establish Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) online betting in Oklahoma and violate gaming compacts.

"Fantasy sports are online internet contests such as fantasy football leagues. Substantial money is played during these games and the proposed legislation of the State of Oklahoma would bring money to Oklahoma State Government and exclude the tribes," said Chief Standing Bear about the now dead controversial legislation.

Caucus Secretary Rep. Seneca Scott (D-Tulsa) announced the united front by tribal leaders had successfully defeated the bill during the regular meeting. The Oklahoma legislature convened for the 55th Session on Feb. 1 and is scheduled to conclude May 27. The caucus meets during regular sessions to discuss issues and legislation important to Native Nations in Oklahoma.

Chief Standing Bear was scheduled as a guest speaker for the Native American Caucus meeting. He shared the successes and goals of the Osage Nation as well as his unfettered support to protect tribal gaming compacts and the sovereign rights of Native Nations in Oklahoma.

Tribal leaders including Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear gather for a group photo at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

"We all operate under federally approved Compacts with the State of Oklahoma as federal law requires. The State of Oklahoma would violate those compacts by entering into new forms of gaming without the tribes participation,” said Chief Standing Bear. “The state gets four to six percent on machines and ten percent on table games under the existing compacts."

Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker expressed his gratitude to Chief Standing Bear for joining efforts to kill the fantasy sports bill in a letter following the caucus meeting.

He stated, “With your help we were able to mobilize and build a strong and effective coalition.”

Baker also shared his thoughts on remaining diligent to combine efforts to stop further actions to pass similar or revised DFS legislation, “Although this legislation has been quashed for this year, it is clear that we will be fighting it again in the future. However, with the strength of the coalition, I am confident that we will be victorious again.”

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskins, Jr. addresses the caucus on the issue of Daily Fantasy Sports legislation violating Indian Gaming compacts. Rep. Seneca Scott, left, chaired the meeting.

According to the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators, “[Native American caucus members] hope to encourage a broad awareness of state-tribal issues across the country and raise the profile of tribal issues throughout the state legislative arena. The effectiveness of the Caucus, and the strength of individual Native Americanlegislators, increases the ability of the state legislatures to more appropriately address tribal issues and develop public policy in cooperation with tribal governments.”

"We must be alert to what happens at the Oklahoma State Capitol. We mainly have a federal relationship, but federal law over the years has caused compacts with the state as a necessary part of tobacco sales, gaming, and other activities which we rely upon for income," said Chief Standing Bear on the subject of remaining involved with the caucus. "Fortunately, we have developed good relationships in the state legislature and also in the Oklahoma executive branch to counter the many forces which would like to see the Oklahoma tribes and nations phased out of existence."

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