Is Oklahoma sports betting legal? Is it likely to be legal soon? This page offers detailed analysis and updates.
History Behind Proposed Sports Betting Bill in Oklahoma
Sports betting has helped the American economy in a big way since the form of gambling became legal throughout the United States. Sports betting was illegal in the United States from 1992 until 2018 because of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). PASPA, a federal regulation, outlawed sports betting throughout the majority of the country. Offshore books were still accessible in America even though there were no legal sports betting options.
State governments knew they were losing money by not offering sports betting. This propelled the Supreme Court to deem PASPA unconstitutional by a 6-3 decision. Collectively, the midwestern portion of the country didn’t immediately act in 2018 when PASPA was shut down.
Oklahoma has a moderate betting history. They granted tribes the ability to offer casinos in 2004. The gaming industry has been plentiful for the state government in Oklahoma. According to the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, there are 102 casinos in the state. This produces over $20 million in tax revenue each year. The majority of the Oklahoma state legislature has wanted to bring sports betting to the state. The leading obstacle in Oklahoma sports betting has come from the Attorney General’s office. This will need to change for a sports betting launch to occur in Oklahoma.
In November 2023, Governor Stitt proposed retail and mobile betting. Under his proposal, the state’s tribal casinos would operate sportsbooks, but statewide mobile betting would also be available. The tribes do not seem to support the proposal.
What Sports Betting Bill in Oklahoma Says
Oklahoma gambling operates through tribes within the state. With no commercial casinos, sports betting legislation focuses on tribal nations. Tribal compacts were renegotiated with two tribes in the state during the legalization process. The two tribes were the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe. Both these tribes have multiple casinos in the state.
The tribal compacts had to be reworked to include legal sports betting. According to the new tribal compacts, each tribe would be able to offer two of their retail sportsbooks. That would make four total sportsbooks in the state. There has been a push to construct commercial casinos in Oklahoma because of the increased revenue they would provide. Therefore, Oklahoma and the tribes agreed that the legislature would have the authority to grant four commercial sportsbooks access to open in the state.
This wouldn’t happen immediately because commercial casinos haven’t been granted access to open in the state. However, when this does happen, they’ll be able to open up sportsbooks. The state has used commercial casinos as a threat to the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association to conform to state demands. The tribes will have the ability to offer mobile gambling as well.
What’s Holding Sports Betting Back in Oklahoma?
The Oklahoma Attorney General, Mike Hunter, is the person trying to derail sports betting in the state. Mike Hunter has made his stance clear throughout tribal compact negotiations with the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe.
Oklahoma Governor, Kevin Stitt, approved tribal sports betting in the state. He was a major piece of negotiation conversations with the two tribes. The governor negotiates gaming with tribal nations in the state of Oklahoma. The governor’s power is granted by Oklahoma’s Tribal Gaming Act. Despite this, the terminology “event betting” isn’t included in the Tribal Gaming Act. Event betting is the language used to describe sports betting in the compacts.
Mike Hunter believed Stitt approved sports betting without legal jurisdiction. Hunter hasn’t dropped this opinion and has continued to state his discontent with the situation. Hunter published a formal opinion on why Stitt shouldn’t have been able to legalize sports betting.
Even though Hunter has done his best to keep sports betting out of Oklahoma, progress has been made in the state. Sports betting looks likely in Oklahoma. The US Department of Interior accepted the new tribal compacts between the state and the two tribes. There are still legal challenges ahead for sports betting, but this ruling formed the beginning of a realistic path to legalization in the state. Hunter will still do his best to derail sports betting.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Oklahoma
The new tribal compacts allow all forms of sports betting with two exceptions. Oklahoma sports betting won’t allow bettors to wager in-state colleges or any collegiate athletic contests that take place within state borders. This takes away the opportunity to bet Big 12 teams like the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.
Oklahoma has one professional sports franchise that competes in the state. This team is the Oklahoma State Thunder who compete in the National Basketball Association. The Thunder have been one of the best teams in the NBA for an extended period. The Thunder are a member of the NBA’s Western Conference Northwest Division. The franchise was founded in 1967. Formerly known as the Seattle Supersonics, the team moved to Oklahoma in 2008 and changed their name to the Thunder.
Coached by Mark Daigneault, the general manager is Sam Presti. The Thunder play in the heart of Oklahoma City inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The team won one NBA title as the Supersonics in 1979. Additionally, the franchise has four Western Conference titles to its name and eleven division championships. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Chris Paul were four of the biggest names in basketball to suit up for the Thunder in the past decade.
Oklahoma Sports Betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Oklahoma?
No, sports betting is not legal in Oklahoma. Progress has been made in the form of gambling, but there is still a long way to go before sports betting is launched in the state.
What’s holding back Oklahoma sports betting?
Attorney General Mike Hunter has been against sports betting from the start of the legalization process. He doesn’t believe that Governor Kevin Stitt has the legal jurisdiction to grant the tribes sports betting accessibility in Oklahoma. Hunter doesn’t appear that he will budge on the topic. He has published a formal written opinion of why he disagrees with the legalization of sports betting.
Is there an estimated launch date for Oklahoma sports betting?
No, but there has been progress made for Oklahoma sports betting. The US Department of Interior approved the tribal sports betting compacts. This will make Attorney General Mike Hunter’s fight against sports betting much more difficult.
What’s the legal gambling age in the state of Oklahoma?
The legal casino gambling age is between 18-21 years of age, depending on the tribal property.
Will mobile sportsbooks be available in Oklahoma when sports betting is legalized?
Yes. However, state-wide mobile betting does not look likely. Apps will only be available on the property of the four tribal casinos where retail sportsbooks will be offered.