Oklahoma AG hires outside attorneys on gambling negotiations

The Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant and Winstar World Casino in Thackerville bring in billions in gaming annually for the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations of Oklahoma (file photos).

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma's attorney general has agreed to pay a Michigan law firm up to $250,000 to help represent the state in negotiations with Oklahoma-based Native American tribes over compacts that allow gambling.

Republican Mike Hunter's office signed the agreement last week with the law firm Dykema Gossett. A Hunter spokesman said Friday the outside attorneys were necessary because of their experience in tribal negotiations.

Discussions between the state and the tribes got off to a rocky start this summer when new Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt said he wanted to renegotiate the deals.

The two sides disagree over whether the existing compacts automatically renew on Jan. 1.

Tribes paid the state about $139 million last year in fees under the compacts.

The contract was first reported by The Oklahoman.

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