Oklahoma Moves Closer to Legal Sports Betting, But Hurdles Remain

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A committee in Oklahoma’s House of Representatives has passed a bill to allow sports betting in state casinos. The bill was approved by the committee on Monday, and will now move to the full House for what is almost certainly going to be a convoluted debate.

OK Committee Says OK To Sports Betting

House Bill 3008 (HB 3008) allows sports betting in tribal casinos in the Sooner State. However, it doesn’t allow or regulate mobile betting, so the lucrative vertical is left out. All betting must be done in-person.

The bill made a significant step forward Monday, but it faces many obstacles on its way to becoming law. It is expected that Governor Kevin Stitt will likely need to meet with the tribes to discuss the gaming compact. However, as KOCO News reports, Stitt and the tribes are not on the best terms right now.

Stitt had shown no interest in negotiating on gaming issues with the tribes, so it is unclear if the bill will be signed by him. Moreover, the governor stopped discussions on adding sports betting to the compacts after his election. He even tried – unsuccessfully – to invalidate the compacts with the tribes.

Representative Ken Luttrell is sponsoring the legislation. He believes that its passage will provide an economic boost to both the state and the tribes. He’s confident that online betting could be added to the mix in the future for additional economic benefits.

HB 3008 Adds Revenue to State Coffers

HB 3008 would allow the state to take a 10% share of net winnings. This is the sum of all bets received, minus any prizes paid out or federal taxes. Luttrell claimed that he spoke with tribes about the topic and that he believes it is the right time for the state to partner with them in launching the market.

Backers of the bill also claim that Oklahomans already bet in sports and will continue to do so regardless of whether it is legal or illegal. Regulating the market would stop revenue from flowing to other states and the black market.

Luttrell stated that Oklahomans send millions of dollars offshore for online sports betting. The state does not make any income from this and the tribes do not get any share of the income.

The lawmaker stated that legalizing sports gaming would create thousands of jobs. Even if the bill were to fail, he expressed optimism, saying that the legislation had already started to spark discussion on the topic.

Luttrell stated that he would facilitate a meeting, bring everyone to the table, and allow for open discussion and debate about the bill.

However, not all tribes support the measure. Opposition legislators want negotiations to begin between the state and tribes before moving forward with expanded gambling. At the same time, tribal nations are split on this issue.

According to the source, Matthew Morgan of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association stated, “Our members are very interested in the subject. They engage quite regularly within their own communities and their local representatives and state senators. Everybody is unique when it comes to their markets and what they would like to see.”

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