Oklahomans will probably have to wait another year for legal sports betting in the Sooner State.
State lawmakers missed a shot at legalization this year by delaying a House floor vote on a proposal (HB 3008) that would have allowed in-person sports betting at tribal casinos, pending federal approval of amended tribal-state gaming compacts with Oklahoma tribes.
The bill died last month when the House failed to take a floor vote on the legislation by a March 24 deadline to move the bill to the Senate.
HB 3008 had passed the House budget committee overwhelmingly by a vote of 28-3 on March 2.
Rep. Luttrell: ‘I Don’t Want To Roll The Dice’
HB 3008 lead sponsor Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City, expressed his disappointment with the outcome in a March 24 statement published by The Ponca City News.
The statement blamed a lack of Senate support for stalled action on the bill in the House.
“In the House, we understand the economics of millions of dollars in Oklahoma every week being bet through foreign online gaming operations and Oklahoma not seeing one cent of revenue from this, but I don’t want to roll the dice in the Senate and come up craps,” Luttrell reportedly told the newspaper.
“I will continue conversations with our tribal gaming partners, the Senate and the Executive Branch to ensure a level, competitive playing field with adjoining states, and a fee schedule fair to the tribes and the state that the Senate can support,” the statement reads.
Better Luck Next Year?
It’s possible Luttrell’s luck will change next year should he pursue legal sports betting during the 2023 annual session.
Another option is for Gov. Kevin Stitt to call a special session on the issue, should he choose to do so.
It was Stitt who circumvented the Oklahoma State Legislature in 2020 when he attempted to legalize retail sports betting through renegotiated gaming compacts with Oklahoma tribes. The compacts were subsequently struck down by the state Supreme Court.
Given that history, it is uncertain if Stitt will push for a vote on legal sports betting ahead of the next regular session. Another legislative attempt seems the best bet for now.