OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Sports betting is back on the table here in Oklahoma as Governor Stitt rolls out his own plan for the enterprise.
It would allow residents to place in-person bets at gaming sites, operated by federally recognized tribes.
In a statement Thursday, Stitt said this would protect tribal investments in brick-and-mortar facilities:
“I promised Oklahomans if we pursued sports betting, we would do it right— and this plan does just that. Thirty-five states have already legalized sports betting, and it’ll be a great revenue stream for the state. Tribes will be able to add it onto their existing infrastructure, and Oklahomans can access it right from their phone.”Governor Kevin Stitt
The plan would also allow Oklahomans to place bets on their mobile devices on a sportsbook licensed by the state.
A fact sheet on Stitt’s sports betting plan can be found here.
The suggested plan would prohibit prop betting and bets on individual student-athlete performance, as well as block wagers on the performance of coaches, referees, and prop bets at the college level.
But, the lawmaker who tried to pass a related bill during the legislative session says the news came as a complete surprise.
“He did not avail himself of any of the resources that we offered,” said Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City.
HB1027, which was authored in the Senate by Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, was positioned to allow tribes to provide in-person and mobile sports betting.
It failed to advance in the Senate during the 2023 legislative session.
“This is something that all cost to the tribes no expense to the state,” added Luttrell.
Luttrell said while he offered to help the Governor facilitate conversations between the tribes, their gaming enterprises, the Oklahoma State Legislature and the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, Gov. Stitt composed the plan on his own: a plan that could violate current compacts.
“He cannot enter in to contracts between the state and outside vendors to do mobile sports betting,” Luttrell continued. “Hopefully this will open some dialog with negotiations between the Governor and myself Senator Coleman and the tribes.”
According to the Governor’s office, the state is awaiting input from the NCAA and the athletic conferences that impact Oklahoma, to see how they may choose to regulate the industry.
KFOR did contact the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association and received the following statement:
The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association was not consulted prior to Gov. Stitt releasing his sport betting plan. 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. We remain hopeful that he is committed to moving forward in a productive manner in accord with established law and process, which would include working with the Oklahoma Legislature to offer a compact supplement to tribes within the State-Tribal Gaming Act construct that protects the tribes’ “substantial gaming exclusivity.” To approach it otherwise is simply to invite failure.
Since the State-Tribal Gaming Act was offered by the people of Oklahoma in 2004 and renewed in 2020, tribes have taken on 100% of costs and associated risks, paid all of the State’s monitoring expenses, exceeded all revenue projections, and have become the recognized national industry leader. Likewise, Oklahoma continues to benefit under our model compact at a rate that far exceeds any other state with an Indian Gaming Regulatory Act compact with tribal nations. We look forward to seeing the more than $2 billion dollars that gaming tribes have already contributed directly to the state continue to grow and positively impact the state’s education funding.Matthew L. Morgan, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma also sent KFOR a statement:
Many parties, including the Choctaw Nation, have been exploring the potential of bringing sports betting to Oklahoma. One thing almost everyone agrees on is that this is an extremely complex issue, touching on existing agreements, tribal sovereignty and protecting Oklahoma’s citizens.
Unfortunately, the governor did not consult with the Choctaw Nation before announcing his proposal, despite our many years of leadership in operating gaming in Oklahoma and our clear interest in moving the economy forward. Upon initial review, we do not believe the plan represents the best interests for the people of Oklahoma or the tribal nations that have done so much to support the state.Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton