On Nov. 2, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced a course of action to bring sports betting to Oklahoma. Days later, it is being scrutinized by both Oklahoma lawmakers and the state’s Indian tribes.
Proposed Oklahoma Sports Betting Proposal
The plan allows Oklahomans to place in-person bets at any tribal-operated gaming site in the state. It would also legalize mobile sports betting with licensed sportsbooks.
Retail wagering conducted by federally recognized tribes will be taxed at a 15% rate. Mobile wagering will be taxed at a 20% rate. An initial licensing fee of $500,000 and a $100,000 annual fee will be required for organizations offering mobile sports betting.
Furthermore, the plan does not allow sports wagers – mobile or retail – on the individual performance of NCAA athletes, coaches, referees, player injuries, or any prop bets on collegiate-level games.
“I promised Oklahomans if we pursued sports betting, we would do it right— and this plan does just that,” Governor Stitt said in a press release. “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.”
Pushback From State Tribes
While Stitt is on board with his plan, his constituents, and the state’s tribes haven’t given it their blessing.
“The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association was not consulted prior to Gov. Stitt releasing his sports betting plan. 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,” a statement from the OIGA read.
“We remain hopeful that he is committed to moving forward in a productive manner in accord with established law and process, which would include working with the Oklahoma Legislature to offer a compact supplement to tribes within the State-Tribal Gaming Act construct that protects the tribes’ ‘substantial gaming exclusivity.’ To approach it otherwise is simply to invite failure.”
Per the State-Tribal Gaming Act, Oklahoma’s tribes have the exclusive right to offer gambling.
Legislators Not On Board
Sen. Bill Coleman called Stitt’s announcement “frustrating.” Coleman authored a sports betting bill (House Bill 1027) last legislative session, which received House approval and will be considered by the Senate in February.
“He has never reached out to share his support of the idea or to offer any other input on this important economic development issue,” Coleman wrote in a press release. “It’s frustrating that he didn’t feel it necessary to collaborate with those of us who have been diligently working on this major issue for over a year now, but I’m hopeful that will change in the coming weeks.”
Coleman also said he has doubts that Stitt will achieve tribal support as long as the plan includes a prohibition on tribes offering mobile sports betting. However, he expressed optimism about Stitt supporting sports betting as a whole.