Oklahoma Gaming Association Reacts to Proposed Sports Betting Plan

The Sooner State is home to over 30 tribes, with 35 of those having compacts with the government. The state, including its more than 100 casinos, presents a promising venture for operators.

Nov 29, 2023 • 13:29 ET • 4 min read
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The legal sports betting industry is continuing to drive discussion for Oklahoma sports fans.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has developed a plan to bring sports wagering to the Sooner State, which has sparked backlash and concern by other lawmakers and leaders in the gaming industry. The Governor’s plan includes a 20% tax rate on online sports betting operators and an initial $500,000 licensing fee, which can be renewed annually for $100,000. Gov. Stitt’s plan also includes retail wagering, which would be operated by federally recognized tribes in the state.

The tribes would gain access to betting through a gaming compact with revenue taxed at 15%. Oklahoma is home to over 30 tribes, with 35 of those having compacts with the government. The state, including its more than 100 casinos, presents a promising venture for operators.

“Oklahoma is a big opportunity for sports betting,” said National Indian Gaming Association executive director Jason Giles on the organization’s “The New Normal” podcast. “You’d draw in folks from surrounding states, especially Texas. The tribes would take that business in a heartbeat.”

Despite the possibility of Oklahoma authorizing wagering, Gov. Stitt’s plan has caused concern due to its high tax rate and the inclusion of a sports betting fee for tribal casinos. Oklahoma’s tribal casinos already play an integral role in maintaining the state’s economic status and a hefty licensing fee, coupled with the responsibility of operating a sportsbook, could take a toll.

“You wouldn’t see the success of rural Oklahoma without tribes,” said Matthew Morgan, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association board, on “The New Normal.”

Other rules in Gov. Stitt’s plan have also raised eyebrows for tribes and other gaming leaders throughout the state. His plan includes the prohibited wagering on college sports, including player props. Betting on injuries would also be barred as well as wagering on coaches.

The proposed rules by Gov. Stitt will continue to be a topic of discussion as lawmakers look to move sports betting forward in the state. Despite a sense of urgency from Stitt, tribes in Oklahoma will remain steadfast in securing a sports betting bill that is advantageous.

“Tribes are in no hurry to get this done,” continued Morgan. “We are not going to go forward in a manner that doesn’t make sense for us. We will remain hopeful and will continue to sit at the table with people who know how to move the process forward.”

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