- Sports betting in Oklahoma was awarded to two tribes in the state by way of a new gaming compact.
- Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunt believes the governor overstepped his legal authority when he gave the tribes this right.
- Because the tribes will be able to pay lower fees for exclusivity no matter how the issue of sports betting plays out, they will not join the fight.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Earlier this week, the Sooner State and the country presumed that sports betting in Oklahoma had finally been legalized. However, a legal opinion from Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter claims otherwise.
The state is now at odds within itself, and the tribes who were approved to offer sports betting are staying out of the fight.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt had signed new compacts with the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe on Tuesday which included provisions for offering an Oklahoma sportsbook at their casino properties.
The new compacts also lowered the fee that each tribe will pay the state for its exclusivity over gaming rights from six percent down to four and a half percent. That part is clear. As far as the sports betting aspect of the compact goes, the tribes will be only allowed to offer it if it is “allowed by state law”.
“If the tribes do nothing else, they’ll be paying 25% percent less,” said Rob Rosette, an attorney whose firm represents the Comanche Nation and the Otoe and Missouria Tribe. “The Governor wants more revenue for the state. The way for the governor to get more is to grow the pie.”
The compacts have been sent to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) for review. The Bureau will have 45 days to green-light the new agreements with the state or to send them back. If the BIA doesn’t take any action on the compacts within that time frame, then the compacts will be deemed approved.
What Would Approval Mean For Sports Betting in Oklahoma?
Certain aspects of the tribal compacts limit the amount of revenue that the state can actually pull from sports betting. The first of those rules is that betting on in-state collegiate programs or collegiate sporting events that occur within the state would not be allowed.
This means betting on the Oklahoma Sooners or Oklahoma State Cowboys would not be available at any sportsbooks.
The other major aspect that could hold back sports betting revenue is the fact that sports wagers could only be placed on tribal lands. This means bettors have to place their wagers in person at one of the tribal casinos and that any mobile betting app that the tribes with to introduced will be geo-fenced to the tribe’s casino.
However, if the compacts are approved by the BIA, it could entice other tribes within the state of Oklahoma to sign similar agreements with the governor. This would then increase the amount of Oklahoma sports betting venues and make the activity more accessible.
– In his career, Hasan has worked both local and state government positions—including the Attorney General’s Office in Florida. On top of being familiar with the legislative process, he has also been researching and writing on the legality of sports betting across the US. Outside of work you’ll most likely find him producing or playing music, playing sports, or working on creative writing projects. You’ll also catch him at Doak Campbell Stadium cheering on the Noles.