Oklahoma legalized sports betting bill moves to second reading

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Oklahoma is in the minority of states with no legalized sports betting. This could, however, be set to change after House Bill 1027 was referred for second reading to Appropriations and Budget on 7th February 2023. The bill had first reading on 6th February, and was authored by Republican Rep. Ken Luttrell late last year.

The bill proposes both legalized Oklahoma sports betting and OK mobile sports betting, in partnership with the states vast number of tribes who have a huge casino footprint in the state already. The state of Oklahoma has two commercial gambling properties, the racetracks, and from latest AGA figures over 135 tribal casinos.

Therefore, one would assume, as neighboring states continue to legalize sports betting, that the state and tribes would be more than interested in legalizing sports betting to capture potential lost revenue.

What does the Oklahoma bill tax structure look like?

The legislation proposes the following in return for a sports betting license in the state:

  • 4% of the first $5 million of annual gross revenue from sports betting
  • 5% of the next $5 million of annual adjusted gross revenue from sports betting
  • 6% of all adjusted gross revenue afterwards from sports betting

The specific language in the bill refers to ‘sports pools’ exclusively, perhaps suggesting strict regulatory limits on the markets offered, and whether all tribes will hold a pool system or specific event wagering system. The bill is currently in early stages, and plenty of rules and regulations would still have to be fleshed out should it pass, so at this early stage it’s difficult to be sure exactly how it’ll shape up.

What’s the history of OK’s legalized sports betting bid?

Rep. Ken Luttrell has filed similar bills in the past with no success, but suggests this time it may be different. He told local news outlet, News on 6 Tulsa, that due to the tax revenue being “a sliding fee” rather than his previously suggested 10% flat charge, it may be of more interest to tribes. Similarly, with neighboring states Colorado, Kansas City and Arkansas all having legalized sports betting there’s increased pressure on states without legalized sports betting.

Recently a bill for sports betting in Texas has been put to the house and is receiving solid support, and Missouri online sports betting could also be forthcoming with another bill in legislature there.

Currently in Oklahoma, fantasy sports are operated and most other forms of gaming (except online) are legal, albeit through tribal compacts. As aforementioned, the 2 racetracks in the state are the only 2 venues recognized as commercial not tribal under AGA’s classification.

How may Super Bowl LVII change the face of betting?

Super Bowl LVII will be held in Arizona and will be the first time the biggest sporting event in the calendar will take place in a state where online sports betting is legalized. Bumper numbers of wagers are predicted, and should further help to sway public opinion. 2022 saw online sports betting in California shut down at ballot, but if there’s one event that could prove pivotal for pro-sports betting lawmakers this year, betting on Super Bowl LVII represents exactly that.