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Jerome García February 12, 2024 3 min read
Sports Betting Legalization Efforts in Oklahoma Continue
The legalization of the activity is gaining momentum with a newly introduced bill
Oklahoma, a state with nearly 4 million residents, is among a handful of states that are currently trying to legalize sports betting. While the Super Bowl wrapped up this weekend, bettors and sports fans in the state will have to wait until next year’s big game to place their first legal wagers. Still, efforts by lawmakers to legalize sports betting continue.
In November, State Gov. Kevin Stitt uncovered details regarding a new plan, proposing the legalization of sports betting. The plan proposed a tax rate of 20% for mobile sports betting. Operators interested in offering legal wagering would pay an initial fee of $500,000 followed by an annual fee of $100,000.
Retail betting would be subject to a 15% tax and under the plan will be offered by the state’s federally recognized Tribes. Upon announcing the plan, Gov. Stitt said that the retail offering would be subject to updating the gaming compacts with the state’s Tribes.
Yet, the proposed plan faced some criticism by the Tribes. This was because it didn’t grant exclusive rights to the tribal operators over mobile betting. Besides the aforementioned plan, a new bill was filed earlier this month, proposing the legalization of sports betting for Oklahoma customers.
Sen. Casey Murdock introduced Senate Bill 1434 (SB 1434), a proposal calling for changes to the Oklahoma Education Lottery Act that would pave the way for legal sports wagering. The bill was first read on February 5 and was referred for a second reading to the Rules Committee and then to the Appropriations Committee last week. SB 1434’s draft from December last year proposed the authorization of the Oklahoma Lottery Commission to develop sports betting pools across the state.
A Handful of Oklahoma’s Neighbors Offer Sports Wagering
There are six states that border Oklahoma. The legalization of sports betting is currently gaining momentum in neighboring Missouri, while Texas currently doesn’t permit any form of wagering. Yet, all other Oklahoma neighbors offer sports betting and this includes Arkansas, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico.
Supporters of the legalization have voiced their concerns previously that bettors who want to wager can simply cross the border with a neighboring state and place a wager there. This is actually a common occurrence for states that do not offer legal sports betting.
Besides Oklahoma, as noted, Missouri is also exploring options for the legalization of wagering on sports. Other states that where lawmakers are making efforts toward the legalization of the activity include Hawaii and Georgia, according to data from the American Gaming Association.