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Oklahoma Sports Betting Proposal Mixes Tribal And Commercial Gaming

Written By J.R. Duren | Updated:
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt Delivers Speech

Better late than never. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has released his plan to bring sports betting to the state, a move that comes as four of the six states on Oklahoma’s border already offer it.

Stitt’s plan includes online sports betting and retail sports gambling at casinos run by federally recognized tribes.

Stitt’s plan comes after a sports betting bill died in the Oklahoma Senate over six months ago.

A news release on Gov. Stitt’s website said.

“I promised Oklahomans if we pursued sports betting, we would do it right— and this plan does just that. 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.”

Details of Gov. Stitt’s sports betting plans

Whenever a state establishes a sports betting market, there are four main factors to consider: platforms, operators, taxes, and college limitations. Here’s how those four factors look in Stitt’s plan:

  1. Platforms: Sports betting would be available in-person at tribal casinos (“retail” betting) and via mobile devices.
  2. Operators: Tribes would have exclusive domain over retail betting, but mobile betting would be available to all operators.
  3. Taxes: Stitt would like to tax retail bets at 15% and mobile bets at 20%.
  4. College limitations: No gambling on individual performances of college athletes, coaches, and referees.

Mobile licensing fees would be $500,000 upfront and $100,000 each year. Generally speaking, the licensing fees and tax rates in Stitt’s proposal are within a reasonable range compared to the 35 other states that offer sports betting.

Oklahoma tribes take a critical eye on Stitt’s proposal

Many in the state and big-name operators like DraftKings and FanDuel will no doubt welcome Stitt’s push for sports betting. However, it will likely not go over well with federally recognized tribes in the state.

Online sports betting typically accounts for more than 95% of all sports betting revenue in states where sports wagering is legal. So, while getting exclusivity over retail sports betting offers a revenue boost for tribes, it’s a pittance compared to online sports betting revenue.

And, according to Oklahoma media outlets, there are rumblings among tribes that Stitt’s proposal falls short.

For example, Oklahoma NPR affiliate KOSU noted that at least two tribal groups said Stitt did not reach out to them for input about sports betting. Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Chairman Matthew Morgan, whose group Stitt did not contact leading up to the proposal, said the governor’s push for sports betting misses the mark.

“The members of the OIGA have been preparing to receive an offer from the state on sports betting for the past couple of years, and while we appreciate Gov. Stitt finally joining the sports betting conversation, to date he has not engaged in meaningful and respectful government-to-government discussion with tribes,” Morgan told KOSU.

Morgan added that the preferred approach is for Stitt to give tribes “substantial gaming exclusivity,” which would likely mean control over mobile sports betting, a model that Maine chose for its sports betting launch.

Photo by Alonzo Adams / AP Photo
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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