Gov. Kevin Stitt seems ready to bring Oklahoma sports betting to his state.
The governor planned to work with the state’s tribal casinos on Thursday. The announcement should give Oklahoma lawmakers the blueprint they need to draft sports gambling legislation.
“I promised Oklahomans if we pursued sports betting, we would do it right — and this plan does just that,” Stitt said. “Thirty-five states have already legalized sports betting, and it’ll be a great revenue stream for the state. Tribes will be able to add it onto their existing infrastructure, and Oklahomans can access it right from their phone.”
Oklahoma Sports Betting in 2024?
The Oklahoma Legislature convenes on Feb. 5, 2024. Gambling policy votes don’t always follow party lines, but the governor should have a pocket of support for his Oklahoma sports betting proposal. Stitt’s fellow Republicans control the House and the Senate.
Oklahoma’s federally recognized tribes began the year with 142 casinos, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA). Stitt said his proposal would include in-person sports betting to protect those preexisting investments.
The governor’s plan calls for online and mobile sports betting as well. Companies like DraftKings and FanDuel would pay a $500,000 licensing fee to go live in Oklahoma. The state would then collect $100,000 yearly from the operators to renew their licenses.
Stitt wants to set the tax rate at 15% for in-person sports bets at tribal casinos. The state would tax mobile and remote sports betting revenue at a 20% rate.
Policy Faces Hurdles
Oklahoma sports betting faces significant headwinds, too. Molly Young of The Oklahoman heard skepticism from state Rep. Ken Luttrell about the use of non-tribal vendors for mobile sports betting. The Ponca City Republican also told Young he wasn’t consulted about the sports betting bill.
Tribal nations pay Oklahoma millions in fees for an exclusive gambling market. The mobile portion of Stitt’s proposal may run afoul of the state-tribal gaming compact.
What Would Sports Betting Look Like in Oklahoma?
The governor’s sports betting proposal appears to allow in-state college bets. But, he set some specific guardrails as part of Thursday’s proposal.
- Any Oklahoma sports betting law would be “subject to change” based on standards set by the NCAA and its athletic conferences.
- Bettors would not be able to place a wager on individual player performances as part of a prop bet at the college level. For example, Oklahomans could bet on the Sooners, but they would not be able to bet on quarterback Dillon Gabriel’s total passing yards in a game.
- Stitt wants the state to ban objectionable wagers as well. Examples include bets on player injuries or the number of in-game violations called by a referee.
Effort Could Leapfrog Texas Sports Betting Market
The Sooner State’s casino industry adds $1.69 billion in tax revenue and tribal revenue share payments, according to the AGA.
The state’s neighbors to the south could add to Oklahoma’s tax base if mobile sports betting gets a foothold. As of now, Texas does not allow legal sports betting. If Oklahoma beats Texas to the legal sports betting market, the move could draw betting Texans north of the Red River.
Gambling legalization would require an amendment to the Texas constitution. Constitutional amendments need support from two-thirds of the Texas House and Senate. The referendum would then appear on statewide ballots for voting Texans to consider.