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Oklahoma lawmaker Rep. Ken Luttrell is becoming doubtful that the sports betting bill he is sponsoring – HB3008 – will have enough time to be passed in both state chambers by session’s end on May 27, although it was just approved in the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.
Luttrell just told the media last weekend that he suspects that:
“[HB3008] won’t have a seat at the gaming table this session.”
Bringing legal sports betting to Oklahoma in less than two months might be tricky, especially given that the state’s native tribes have existing compacts in place with the state and all new deals would have to be amended to the agreements already in place.
The other hurdle preventing the legal sports betting market to launch in Oklahoma is the resistance and pushback the bill is getting from the state Senate.
Perhaps Oklahoma Senators still have a bitter taste in their collective mouths from the state’s prior attempt to legalize sports betting market within the tribes.
That 2020 failed effort became a disaster once it was determined Governor Kevin Stitt had overstepped his bounds and that he was only permitted to authorize games listed in the Tribal Gaming Act, and sports betting is not on that approved list.
Now, according to Rep. Luttrell, the Senate is stalling on debating this issue, and unlike the House of Representatives, has been unwilling to move forward with his bill, explaining that only his chamber seems to understand the dire economic reality they are facing, saying:
“In the House, we understand the economics of millions of dollars in Oklahoma every week being bet through foreign online gaming operations and Oklahoma not seeing one cent of revenue from this, but I don’t want to roll the dice in the Senate and come up craps.”
And that’s a lot of money that Oklahoma is missing out on.
Rough projections by industry experts expect a legal sports betting market in Oklahoma to generate upwards of $240 million in annual state revenue, money that right now is not being collected and taxed because the resident bettors are placing their wagers elsewhere.
Sooner State sports betting gamblers are putting money on games right now, but they are having to use unregulated offshore sportsbooks, illegal bookies, or by traveling to neighboring states with sportsbooks in a place like Arkansas, Colorado, and New Mexico to place their bets.
That’s millions of real dollars that Oklahoma residents are spending elsewhere, and the longer lawmakers wait to face that reality, the more state residents are missing out on a fortune, with Rep. Lutrell acknowledging this by saying:
When we do finally get a sports-betting bill passed, it will be a jackpot for our entire state.
There are 35 tribal nations in Oklahoma that currently operate over 130 gaming facilities that offer Vegas-type games as well as over five thousand bingo seats, so adding sports betting options to those existing casinos and travel plazas make good logistical and financial sense.
Keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this ongoing 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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