Is sports betting on the horizon in Oklahoma?

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With college football slated to kick off in a couple weeks, could Sooner and Cowboy fans soon be able to legally bet on their teams right here in Oklahoma?

For years, Oklahomans have been able to put down a bet at a slot machine or their favorite table game, but now experts say they are soon going to be able to bet on their favorite sports teams, even E-Sports.

“Sports gaming is happening all around us. Other states are taking advantage of it,” said Rep. Jon Echols, House Majority Leader.

Legislators and tribal leaders say its time to keep Sports Book dollars from going out of state, off shore or to the black market.

“What you are trying to do is drive customers from their illegal markets over to legal markets. Right now, tribes are not benefiting from illegal markets. The state is not benefiting from the illegal markets,” said Matthew Morgan of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association.

Right now, 28 states have sports gaming in some form, including four states that border Oklahoma. Reportedly, 10 others are in the process of legalizing it. Some states are working with tribes, some aren’t. All allow betting on pro sports teams. However…

“A lot of states will legislate that you cannot bet on college sports or you cannot bet on the college teams that are in the state. Then there are other states that are completely laissez faire, you can bet on anything you want including political races,” said Marcus Yoder, an industry expert with GAN.

And if election weren’t enough, gaming experts say betting on E-sports is coming soon.

Sports gaming was a big topic at this year’s Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association convention.

“Sports betting definitely brings a new energy to Indian gaming,” said Ernest L. Stevens, head of the National Indian Gaming Association.

Tribal leaders say they have been at the table for years to bring sports betting into their facilities. They say once they get the green light, sports books could open online and in casinos quickly.

“We don’t have to recreate the wheel with this. We can look at other markets and figure out something that can work well here in Oklahoma,” said Morgan

State legislators would have to pass laws next February when the session begins to give Gov. Kevin Stitt the ability to negotiate sports betting into new compacts with the tribes.

“I would expect that there would be lots of talks about authorizing the executive to enter into those talks with the tribal partners,” said Echols.

For years, many have seen sports gaming as a bargaining chip for the governor to get the tribes to enter into new compacts.. The Governor’s Office declined to comment on the state of sports gaming in Oklahoma.

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