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Sports betting simplified
The future of sports betting in Oklahoma is unclear at the moment, but there is certainly an appetite from some lawmakers in the state to push for legalization. Rep. Ken Luttrell’s HB 1027 gained some momentum and advanced through the House on March 21, but the bill failed in the Senate after at least one industry source stated there was too big of a gap between Gov.
Kevin Stitt and the state’s gaming tribes to get the industry off the ground.
Whatever the future holds for legal sports betting in Oklahoma, the state’s strong network of tribal gaming entities will likely be involved somehow. It is not clear when sports betting apps might launch in the state and begin offering online sportsbook promos. The proposed 2023 legislation gained momentum but ultimately fell far short of passing. It is feasible that the industry could get off the ground in Oklahoma sometime in 2024.
State of Oklahoma Sports Betting Overview
Right now, there are no options to place legal bets in Oklahoma.
Any online sportsbooks that claim they can accept bets from someone in Oklahoma at this point is an unlicensed offshore operator. That means anyone placing a bet with that operator has no consumer protections through US laws. The book could choose not to pay out a winning bet or close operations without returning customer funds.
Oklahoma’s situation could change quickly depending on what the tribes decide to do and what the state and federal governments allow.
That number could become drastically bigger if other tribal gaming entities decide to renegotiate their compacts. Oklahoma has 38 federally-recognized tribes, 35 of which have signed gaming compacts with the state.
Oklahoma also has the most tribal casinos of any US state, with 143 tribal casinos and gaming centers – though it should be noted that not all of those casinos would offer sportsbooks if sports betting became legal.
State of Oklahoma Sports Betting Timeline
2023: Rep. Ken Luttrell introduces sports betting bill HB 1027. The bill advanced through the House Committee on Appropriations and Budget but still has significant hurdles to pass.
HB 1027 passed through the House with a 66-26 vote, keeping the bill alive for now. However, the bill advanced with its title off, which suggests it still requires additional changes and must return to the House.
HB 1027 later fails to clear a Senate committee before a deadline.
2022: Rep. Ken Luttrell introduces HB 3008. It dies on the House floor after gaining momentum and passing through the committee.
2020: Gov. Kevin Stitt approves sports betting on tribal land by renegotiating two tribal gaming compacts. The compacts, signed with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe, permitted betting on all but in-state college teams and in-state college events.
Attorney General Mike Hunter quickly disagrees with the governor’s actions the same day the compacts are announced. He later publishes a formal opinion outlining why Stitt lacks the authority to offer sports betting.
The effort to legalize was sidelined before launch when House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat sued Stitt, and the court ruled against the Governor and his compacts.
The governor is reportedly only allowed to authorize tribes to operate games listed in the state’s Tribal Gaming Act. Sports betting, or event betting as it’s called in the compacts, is not listed in the Act.
2019: Gov. Stitt and most of Oklahoma’s gaming tribes disagreed on what happened with their gaming compacts on Jan. 1, 2020.
Stitt started looking to renegotiate the compacts in 2019 after stating the compacts would expire on Jan. 1, but 29 tribes signed a letter sent to Stitt explaining to him that they believed their compacts would automatically renew on Jan. 1.
The Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Chocktaw nations filed a federal lawsuit, eventually joined by nine other tribes. The Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe were a part of that lawsuit but dropped out as part of the settlement after renegotiating their compacts.
Stitt would eventually offer sports betting as part of a new compact for multiple tribes. Still, those tribes turned down the offer, according to a local report citing the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association.
As a hotbed of college football and with the NBA Oklahoma City Thunder, legalized sports gambling in Oklahoma is only a matter of time.