Retail and online wagering

Oklahoma House passes tribal sports betting plan, bill now moves to Senate

Reading time 2:29 min

By a 2-1 margin, the Oklahoma House advanced House Bill 1027 to the Senate on Tuesday. The proposal seeks to allow tribes to add sports betting to their existing gaming compacts with the state. Sooner State tribes would be able to offer both retail and mobile sports wagering under the plan.

The legislation is halfway through the legislative process: after passing the House, HB1027 moves across the chamber, set to begin the Senate committee process. The structure of the proposal ensures that even if it passes the Senate, it will eventually land in a conference committee to hash out any final adjustments. That final version of the bill would then have to be given approval once again by both the state House and Senate.

Rep. Ken Luttrell, the bill’s author, says legal sports betting would add about $9 million a year to the state budget. "Right now, Oklahoma is missing out on a huge financial opportunity for both our state and our tribes," said Luttrell, R-Ponca City, as per The Oklahoman. "Oklahomans are traveling across state lines to participate in sports betting, and we're losing those dollars. It makes economic sense to provide sports betting as an option."

Rep. Ken Luttrell

Under the plan, tribes with a sportsbook would pay the state 4% of the first $5 million made in a month. The fee then increases to 5% for the next $5 million of betting revenue, and then a 6% fee for anything over $10 million earned in a month. The bill earmarks 12% of revenue paid to the state to the general revenue fund, while the remaining 88% would be assigned to the Education Reform Revolving Fund.

Sports betting proponents argue Oklahoma is losing out on revenue to other states that have already legalized their markets. Neighboring Kansas and Arkansas already offer some form of legal sports wagering. Additionally, Luttrell argues that on top of keeping betting dollars in the state, legalization would also bring regulation to a market that currently operates in the shadows, without protections for the customers.

While the bill is taking big steps toward potential legalization, there is no consensus yet among leaders of the 35 tribes that operate gaming in Oklahoma. Matt Morgan, chair of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, has said tribes are “cautious” of upending the existing state-tribal model gaming compact, which covers slot machines with random odds and some types of table games. "OIGA looks forward to staying engaged as this legislation is taken up by the Senate," Morgan said Tuesday, as reported by the previously cited source.

Gov. Kevin Stitt

The push to legalize sports betting has the support of Gov. Kevin Sttit, who said back in January that he wanted state lawmakers to sign off on sports wagering during the current legislative session. “If we’re going to do it, I’m the kind of person that says, ‘Hey, let’s get it done now,’” Stitt told the hosts of the local sports radio show The Franchise earlier this year.

Stitt’s had a strained relationship with many of the tribes since he aggressively pushed to renegotiate the state’s tribal gaming compacts. But despite his rocky relationship with some of the state’s major tribes, the governor, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation, expressed confidence that tribal leaders could back a plan to legalize sports betting.

This is the second year in a row that Rep. Luttrell has filed a bill to legalize sports betting. House floor representatives did not vote on the issue last year. While they did pass it this time around, a potential roadblock, however, is Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat. While not necessarily an opponent, Treat does not believe sports betting is a priority for the state.

Leave your comment
Subscribe to our newsletter
Enter your email to receive the latest news
By entering your email address, you agree to Yogonet's Condiciones de uso and Privacy Policies. You understand Yogonet may use your address to send updates and marketing emails. Use the Unsubscribe link in those emails to opt out at any time.