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Sports betting could become legal in Oklahoma after U.S. Supreme Court drops ban

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legal sports betting could become a reality in Oklahoma after the U.S. Supreme Court dropped a ban Monday that kept states (except for Nevada) from allowing people to bet on sports.

Right now, there isn’t a state law on the books that allows sports betting in the state. Oklahoma would need to pass one to make that a reality.

“It could mean enhanced revenue,” said Representative Shane Stone, a Democrat. “I mean, it really presents an opportunity for us to draw more people into the state.”

He says the process, granted there is support, could be fairly simple.

“We’d have to go through the avenues of tribal gaming. And so, everything’s already there,” said Stone. “We just have to allow it, which would be a quick legislative fix or we could wait until the compacts are up in two years and to be renegotiated and do it that way.”

But, Stone says the time to act is now.

“If we don’t act on this, people will be going to other places,” he said.

Jay Finks with the Oklahoma Lottery and Commission told News 4:

“We’re always looking at ways to maximize the Oklahoma Lottery’s enhancement of school funding, and yesterday’s ruling helps start a conversation about new ways we can do that. The Oklahoma Lottery will be observing state and federal discussions while exploring offerings and partnerships that could further our mission to enhance education funding.”

Others, however, say legalizing sports betting could create more problems.

“About 2 million Americans suffer from pathological gambling. That means they have an addictive problem with gambling,” said Iona Cunningham with A Chance to Change.

Cunningham says if the state legalizes betting, more resources will be needed.

“If there’s more access to it, there’s more access to have people that struggle with it,” said Cunningham.

We reached out to the Oklahoma City Thunder and they sent us a statement from the NBA:

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court opens the door for states to pass laws legalizing sports betting. We remain in favor of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it, but we will remain active in ongoing discussions with state legislatures. Regardless of the particulars of any future sports betting law, the integrity of our game remains our highest priority.”

University of Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione also sent a statement saying:

"We have been tracking this issue and have been anticipating a decision. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, we're processing the details and trying to gain a clearer understanding of all of the considerations involved. As a department, we have long been dedicated to educating our student-athletes about impermissible activities, including gambling, as well as monitoring what we're capable of at the institutional level. Going forward, I think it's important for universities and colleges to seek the assistance of our respective states in developing a regulatory approach in order to properly manage our overall responsibility in this new age, as well as uphold the integrity of our competitions."