Oklahoma House of Representatives has advanced legislation permitting tribes in the state to offer sports betting.
House Bill 1027 would allow the tribes to add legal sports betting to their existing Oklahoma gambling compacts. Passed by a vote of 66-26, HB 1027 moves to the Senate for further committee progress.
But before it’s ready for the governor’s last sign-off, the bill’s final version must get approval from both the House and Senate.
Tribes would have exclusive rights to offer sports betting
State Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City, introduced HB 1027 in the House of Representatives in January.
The bill would allow Oklahoma tribes with gaming compacts with the state to offer in-person and retail sports betting.
Luttrell said allowing tribes to conduct sports betting “levels the playing field” for Oklahoma’s tribal gaming partners. Especially because more and more neighboring states already permit it. According to Enid News, he said Oklahomans are betting illegally, and that money is going toward other states:
“But more than an economic engine and an economic reason, it’s also part of the responsibility that we have to our citizens to put some regulations in place on an unregulated, illegal industry and put some guidelines in place and partner with our tribal partners to present responsible gaming.”
Interested tribes to negotiate Oklahoma gambling terms with the state
The tribes interested in participating would first need to negotiate with the state to amend their existing compacts. That would face specific fees. Under the sports betting legislation, Oklahoma state would collect:
- 4% of the first $5 million of monthly net win
- 5% of the next $5 million of adjusted gross revenue – total receipts minus monetary pay-outs
- 6% of the total adjusted gross revenue from sports betting each year
Of these fees, 12% would go toward the General Revenue Fund. The remaining 88% would go to public schools and the Education Reform Revolving Fund.
More than 30 tribes currently offer some form of gambling in Oklahoma. The bill would allow each of these organizations to provide sports betting.
The initiative faced some opposition in the state House
Oklahoma Sen. Bill Coleman and Gov. Kevin Stitt said they would do their best to support a change. But the measure still faced some opposition in the Oklahoma state House.
Rep. Carl Newton, R-Cherokee, said he opposed the expansion since he thinks increasing gambling is bad for Oklahomans. Likewise, State Rep. Jim Grego, R-Wilburton, said he voted against the expansion because he believes the state already has enough gaming.
Luttrell’s effort to legalize sports betting failed to advance through the legislature last year. But this time, he says he feels he has more support.