Oklahoma sports betting legislation made it out of the House budget committee Wednesday, hours before hitting a deadline requiring the bill to clear the committee or miss its chance to be heard on the House floor.
Now the clock has started again for HB 3008, which must be voted out of the House and to the Senate by March 24 if it has a chance at becoming law this year.
The current legislative session is scheduled to end on May 27.
Sports Betting Under HB 3008
Passage of the legislation would allow Oklahoma tribal nations with an existing tribal-state gaming compact to add in-person sports betting to their casino offerings, pending federal approval. Tribal-state gaming compacts are federal agreements between tribal nations and states allowing tribes to offer casino gaming on their lands.
Online sports betting would not be allowed under the legislation. However, HB 3008 lead sponsor Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City, says he isn’t counting out mobile sports betting in Oklahoma.
“That’s for future negotiations,” Luttrell told the House Appropriations and Budget Committee tonight before it voted 28-3 in favor of HB 3008. “This is for in-person sports betting in a casino. The intention is to get something on the ground here that will work for the tribes, and benefit us both.”
When Could Oklahoma Sports Betting Launch Under HB 3008?
Sportsbooks could launch inside tribal casinos after Nov. 1, 2022 under Luttrell’s proposal, although it would likely be 2023 before Oklahoma sports betting would go live.
The timetable ultimately depends on federal approval of amended tribal-state gaming compacts.
The US Department of the Interior would have up to 45 days after the Nov. 1 legislative effective date to approve sports betting agreements between the state and tribes. An additional 90 days is allotted under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) for the DOI to publish approved compacts in the Federal Register (the official federal agency record), although the process typically takes less time.
No sports betting can begin on tribal land until tribal-state gaming compacts are approved and published.
Leveling ‘The Playing Field’
One Oklahoma tribe that stands to benefit from HB 3008 is the Cherokee Nation. The tribe owns and operates at least 10 of Oklahoma’s 136 tribal casinos. Luttrell is a member of the tribe.
Luttrell told the House budget committee that tribal nations and the state of Oklahoma lose millions of dollars each week without legal sports betting.
Tribes will be required to pay 10 percent of their sports pool monthly net wins to the state, should HB 3008 pass.
“We send millions of dollars from sports betting out of the state, down to the Caribbean, down to South America, without any income to the state, without any income going to our tribal entities, our gaming partners,” Luttrell told the committee. “We’re just looking to level the playing field.”