Oklahoma Sports Betting Bill on Its Way to the Senate

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A general view of the stadium during the game between the Oklahoma Sooners and Louisiana Monroe Warhawks. Brett Deering/Getty Images/AFP.

Although the state lacks sports teams, bringing Oklahoma sports betting is still an issue that is on the table. For the first time, Oklahoma’s House of Representatives has advanced legislation allowing tribes to offer sports betting.

By a 66-26 vote, lawmakers advanced House Bill 1027 (HB 1027) to the Senate. It allows tribes to add sports betting to existing gaming compacts with the state.

Oklahoma is the second-largest tribal gaming state in the United States, after only California. It is home to approximately 40 tribes that manage more than 100 casinos. However, a similar attempt to legalize sports betting failed to make it through the Legislature last year.

What House Bill 102 Allows

HB 1027 would allow for retail and digital sports betting in Oklahoma while requiring the tribes to share revenue with the state on a sliding scale.

If the bill is passed, tribes running a sportsbook would be required to pay the state 4% of the first $5 million generated in the first month. The price increases to 5% for the following $5 million in betting revenue, then to 6% for anything more than $10 million monthly. 

The bill also calls for the allocation of 12% of revenue to the state’s general revenue fund. The remaining 88% would go to the Education Reform Revolving Fund.

There’s Money to Be Made in Oklahoma

The bill’s author, State Rep. Ken Luttrell, thinks the state could add as much as $9 million a year to the state budget. It would come from the percentage of revenue earned from bets made in Oklahoma on sporting events. 

The generated revenue would depend on a number of factors, including whether or not sports betting is only conducted in person or if it can be conducted online. But an Oxford Economics Group report, commissioned by a gambling industry group, determined that sports betting could produce nearly $240 million in revenue for Oklahoma each year.

Luttrell said that passing the bill would also regulate an unregulated market and help “level the playing field” for Oklahoma’s tribal gaming partners because an increasing number of neighboring states already permit legalized sports betting.

The chair of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, Matt Morgan, said that tribes are being cautious about changing the current state-tribal model gaming compact. Luttrell said talks with tribal leaders are ongoing. According to The Oklahoman, the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) has been monitoring the situation but has yet to endorse the bill. 

The Future of Oklahoma’s Sports Betting Bill

The measure has made it halfway through the legislative process. It will now have to survive a Senate vote. The bill’s current structure ensures that even if it passes the Senate, it will eventually end up in a conference committee to work out any final details.

The final version of the bill would then have to be approved (again) by both the House and the Senate. Lawmakers now have until the May 26 adjournment date to hammer out details if it is to be enacted.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said he would support sports betting as long as it’s fair and allows the state to maximize revenue potential.