The tides are turning in favor of Oklahoma being able to offer legalized sports betting very soon.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned on May 14, 2018. On that day, courts voted to allow each state to propose and create their own laws and regulations for sports betting.
While Oklahoma did not immediately move to implement sports betting, a recent agreement with the two local tribes in the state on a new gaming compact could mean legal wagering is on the way. However, opposition from both lawmakers and some tribes have the topic tied up by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Oklahoma has over 100 casinos that are owned and operated by 33 federally-recognized tribes in the state. There is strong potential for the tribes to support the motion and offer sports betting at their casinos.
Until then, Oklahomans can get their gambling fix with things like multi-state lottery drawings, bingo and raffles, electronic gaming, horse racing, daily fantasy games, and casino-style table games at one of the many tribal casinos. Craps and roulette are not offered at these locations because existing compacts and state laws only allow for games of chance played with cards.
Oklahoma is also home to the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville. Boasting 600,000 square feet, the Winstar is the world’s largest casino.
When it comes to sports betting, until the current tribal compact situation is worked out, Oklahomans can travel to nearby states like Colorado, New Mexico, or Arkansas to get their sports betting fix where wagering is already legal.
When Will Sports Betting Be Legal in Oklahoma?
The roadblock to allowing legal sports betting in Oklahoma has often come from negotiating with the state’s tribes. However, in April 2020, the state and two local tribes (the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Comanche Nation) were able to come to an agreement where they would be able to offer sports betting at their casino properties.
The renegotiated compacts also permit the state to open up to five non-tribal retail locations for sports betting as well. Mobile wagering would be allowed, but only while physically inside the casino. But there is an issue.
The compacts were renegotiated by Governor Kevin Stitt and almost immediately after doing so, his authority was called into question. Attorney General Mike Hunter has launched an appeal saying Stitt can only authorize games outlined in the Tribal Gaming Act, of which sports betting is not listed.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court will review the compacts in July and rule on the outcome. If the new compacts are allowed to remain, the next step would be to publish the compacts in the Federal Registrar, though that could take some time.
Moreover, the two tribes who signed into the new compacts did so on their own and have now more or less been outcast by the remaining tribes in the state. They even got a one-year suspension from their statewide organization.
The coming months will play a big role in what the sports betting landscape will look like in Oklahoma. We could see legal sports betting within a year, or we could be in for months of legal entanglements.
Oklahoma Sports Betting FAQs
Is sports betting legal in Oklahoma?
No, sports betting has yet to be approved in Oklahoma.
Are there casinos in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma is home to over 100 casinos that are owned and operated by the state’s 33 local tribes.
Who are the top sports team in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma is home to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA and also boasts several popular collegiate sports teams in the NCAA and NCAAF.