Tribes oppose Oklahoma governor’s plan for regulated sports betting

Oklahoma Sports Betting Tribes
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A plan to bring sports betting to Oklahoma is receiving backlash from federally recognized tribes.

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s proposed plan for regulated sports betting in Oklahoma is being opposed by state tribes as they believe it violates their gaming compacts and rights to exclusively offer wagering in the state. Stitt’s plan, which was first announced last year, proposes to allow retail sports betting in the state at tribal casinos and gaming establishments while online wagering would be offered through the Oklahoma Lottery Commission (OLC).

Stitt’s plan calls for wagering at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks to be taxed at a 15% rate, while online wagering would see a 20% rate for operators that pay a $100,000 annual license fee.

Tribes in Oklahoma have opposed this plan, which calls for no college prop betting, as it puts them in direct competition with commercial sportsbooks and takes away their exclusive right to offer regulated wagering in the state following the renewal of gaming compacts in 2020.  

The tribes maintained their gaming compacts in 2020 following contentious legal proceedings that saw the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma rule that gaming compacts automatically renewed for 15 years. Tribes had previously sued Stitt, who said they expired.

Oklahoma’s tribes continued to be at odds with Stitt as he crafted his plan for sports betting.

“The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association was not consulted prior to Gov. Stitt releasing his sports betting plan,” said the non-profit organization last November. “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.”

Oklahoma lawmakers making other attempts to authorize sports betting

Earlier this month, Sen. Casey Murdock introduced Senate Bill 1434, which proposes to allow federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma to offer sports betting through contracts with the state lottery. Online wagering would be permitted to retailers that are awarded a license by the OLC.

Retailers would be required to pay an initial $500,000 license fee with licenses renewed annually for $100,000. SB 1434, which had its second reading on Feb. 6, has been referred to the state’s Appropriations Committee.