- Oklahoma Supreme Court rules 7-1 against compact agreements between the governor and tribal casinos that would allow sportsbooks in their venues.
- Legislators argue that the compacts are invalid as sports betting is outlawed in Oklahoma, making any agreement on the contract invalid.
- There has been a constant debate ever since the compacts were issued.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma sports betting will have to wait as compacts that would have brought land-based sports betting to the Sooner State at tribal casinos have been vetoed by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, deeming them invalid under state law.
The compacts were curated between Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and the Comanche and Otoe-Missouria tribes. Their local casinos would have hosted the sportsbooks.
Sports betting has not been regulated in Oklahoma, and although Native American tribes are able to run casino gambling on their own lands, the Supreme Court ruled that the governor does not have the authority to agree to compacts bringing something that has not been legalized.
Oklahoma Sports Betting Drama
It has been a constant struggle from the get-go for Oklahoma sports betting to launch at tribal casinos via the compacts. The compacts legality was challenged seemingly instantly and it took no time for trails to go underway regarding them.
Now the Supreme Court officially ruled, opposing the governors’ actions and stopping potential land-based sports betting operations from happening in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has been one of the main voices against the compacts ever since their inception.
“The Department of the Interior’s thoughtless and irresponsible inaction on the compacts doesn’t change our conclusion that the governor lacks the authority to enter into compacts that include activities not legal in Oklahoma,” said Hunter. “The tribes cannot begin operating under the terms of these compacts until the many questions that remain pending before the Oklahoma Supreme Court are resolved. I am deeply disappointed in Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s abdication of his responsibility to all of Oklahoma’s Native American sovereigns, not just two.”
Hunter’s core argument is that since sports betting itself is not regulated within the Oklahoma legislature, it is not within the governor’s power to curate these compacts. With this Supreme Court ruling, it seems regulated sports betting in Oklahoma is once again a faraway reality.
The next legislative session in Oklahoma will begin on January 5, 2021, and will last until May 28, 2021. From there, lawmakers can try to get legal sports betting passed into law. Only after that will a compact like the ones signed early this year be valid.
Coming from a background in narrative-based writing, Giovanni strives to write stories that will keep the reader engaged. Although he does pride himself in being accurate, how the story is told is also very important to him. When he’s not keeping readers up to date on sports betting laws and legislation, you can find him writing and recording music, playing videogames, or engaged in heated sports debates with his friends.