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A bill to legalize sports betting in Oklahoma has moved further forward on its legislative journey towards becoming a law after the state’s Appropriations and Budget Committee voted 28-3 to pass HB 3008, giving it the green light to be debated and voted on by the full House floor.
That bill’s sponsor, Representative Ken Luttrell, is convinced that a legal, regulated, and taxed sports betting market would benefit Oklahoma residents on at least three levels that make this issue a no-brainer.
As it has in other states, a legal sports betting market could provide the state of Oklahoma with a new tax revenue stream, it would create good-paying jobs, and it would prevent Sooner State bettors from having to wager and spend their betting money out of state.
The bill would allow for in-person sports betting only with a mobile option not on the table this go-around, but it must make its way out of the House first.
HB 3008 Now Faces Full House Debate and Vote before Facing State Senate
With that final House committee green light, HB 3008 advances to a full chamber debate as the Oklahoma House of Representatives will now argue back and forth before taking a vote to send it onto the State Senate, not a given when considering the state’s historic anti-gambling stance.
Oklahoma lawmakers face a reality that other state leaders have dealt with, as well, which is that many of their residents do enjoy placing bets on the games they watch, but they are either using offshore sportsbooks, illicit bookies, or traveling to neighboring states to do it.
New Mexico, Colorado, and Arkansas have joined the other more than thirty states that have already created their own legal sports betting market, so Oklahoma can continue to fight that or join in and begin to financially benefit from money that is currently going elsewhere.
However, there are a few parts of HB 3008 that some state casino operators don’t like.
As anxious as tribal casino operators are to add sports betting to their wide array of gambling offerings, some native industry leaders are pushing back on parts of HB 3008, with Matthew Morgan, the chair of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, telling the press:
“Almost all the association is very interested in sports betting. But we do have some folks that are very interested in the mobile aspect of sports betting, which Rep. Luttrell’s bill does not capture.”
The ease of mobile sports betting typically leads to an increase in the overall handle and those markets that have tried to exist without an online option tend to figure out eventually how critical it is to a state’s gambling bottom line.
Another argument Morgan has with HB 3008 is the 10% share of revenue it details, a number that could be considered too high, telling the media:
We also have some concerns from our members on what [the] fee split would look like given the low margin of sports betting. I think they would like to see that reworked in a way that would make them more likely to support something in that way.
Chances are more compromises will be made as this bill continues its way through both legislative chambers towards Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk for a signature, so check back for all the latest news and updates 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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