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Time is becoming an issue for Oklahoma’s sports betting bill (HB 3008), a piece of legislation that is working its way through state congress, with the ball in the court of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee who could vote to pass that measure onward this week.
Were that bill to become a law, it would give Oklahomans the chance to place in-person sports bets at qualifying native casinos, but lawmakers are running out of time since the current Oklahoma state legislative session is scheduled to end on May 27.
With this version of the bill, there would be no mobile sports betting options for gamblers so they would have to show up in person to place their wagers at any of the up-to 131 native casinos that would be eligible for a retail license if HB 3008 were signed into law.
First, though, any new legislation would need Federal approval since all agreements between the state of Oklahoma and its native tribes are bound by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) as well as compacts which would have to be amended.
According to HB 3008, almost all the native casinos in the state will be eligible to offer sports betting.
There are reportedly 143 American Indian casinos and gaming centers in the state of Oklahoma, and HB 3008 would allow for up to 131 of those to launch retail sportsbooks at their locations, a sign that most sites that want one will be able to qualify for a license.
The bill’s lead sponsor is Oklahoma State Representative Ken Luttrell, and he is no doubt staring at the calendar as his fellow lawmakers continue to debate the idea of allowing regulated sports betting market to exist in their state.
A similar attempt was made before in 2020 when Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt amended compacts with two native tribes to allow for retail sportsbooks to take bets, but the state congress did not give that move its final approval.
Given that Oklahomans are already using other means to make their sports bets, it makes sense to move forward on this issue.
Oklahoma gamblers already spend money on sports betting, but they have to use offshore sportsbooks and illicit bookies to do it, or they travel to a neighboring state where that activity has already been made legal, like in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arkansas.
One goal of HB 3008 is to redirect that existing flow of money back towards Oklahoma and the residents who can benefit most from it, with that type of retail sports gambling market projected to create $240 million in annual state revenue and at least 3,000 new jobs.
Rep. Luttrell understands this and it’s the message he has been pushing, saying this exact thing to the Center Square Oklahoma last month:
“The projected income for the state of Oklahoma is substantial. The projected income for those tribes is substantial plus the jobs it would create.”
Given all the remaining hurdles still left to be jumped, even if all goes well don’t expect legal sports betting in Oklahoma until at least some time in 2023, so keep checking back for all the latest updates and news on this unfolding story.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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