Maybe Next Year
Nearly three months after its first reading in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, sports betting bill HB 1027 failed to advance in the Senate prior to last week’s April 13 committee deadline.
Author of the bill Rep. Ken Luttrell announced the news via statement:
“While I’m disappointed we didn’t hit a jackpot this year on sports betting, I look forward to continued open dialogue with our tribal partners and the Governor’s office, which I plan to facilitate with Senator Coleman,” Luttrell said. “The 66-26 vote in the House demonstrates that legislators fully understand the economic impact, the need for improved regulation of the betting industry, the desire our citizens have for this and the importance of ensuring a level, competitive playing field for the tribes.”
Governor, Tribes Need To Talk
According to KOCO News 5, the bill’s primary Senate author, Sen. Bill Coleman said “it was missing a conversation between the governor and the tribes.”
At Tuesday’s legislative session, Coleman said: “Our Native American tribes are part of the fabric of our state and what makes Oklahoma unique. We must view them as a vital partner in any negotiations that involve sports betting moving forward.”
Though the measure passed through the House and Coleman said his constituents were “overwhelmingly supportive,” without a direct collaboration between the Governor and the state’s tribes, the bill could not advance.
Chuck Hoskin, Chief of the Cherokee Nation, told KOCO News 5 in the past that tribes would be on board with sports betting “as long as tribal sovereignty and the laws of this state as its respects gaming are adhered to.”
Similarly, Gov. Kevin Stitt gave his support earlier in the legislative session so long as the bill included a “fair deal for the state of Oklahoma.”
In some way or another, everyone in Oklahoma is on board with sports betting in the state. The way in which it is monopolized, however, may need further discussion.
Oklahoma’s Sports Betting Prospects Moving Forward
Under the current — and now failed bill — the tribes would have had to pay the state a 4% fee on the first $5 million in revenue each month, followed by an additional 5% fee on the next $5 million.
Oklahoma’s 39 tribes have tribal exclusivity in the state meaning they will need to “sign off” on any sort of legislation that includes gaming on non-tribal lands. This is where conversation and collaboration from the Governor’s office is needed.
Despite its failure, the bill is still eligible to be heard next session in the Senate, and with the varied support it seems to have, it may get the votes it needs, though it won’t come in 2023. It will be at least another year before Oklahoma sees anything close to legalization.