Oklahoma online sports betting laws
The prospects for legalized Oklahoma sports betting are remote as things stand. In a state that is home to more than 100 casinos, it’s surprising that legislators cannot agree on a bill acceptable to all parties following a state Supreme Court verdict in 2020 that found legislation was needed in order to legalize sports betting in the state.
Administrative law and government relations attorney
Jennifer has a degree in Journalism from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C, in 2005. She's been living in Las Vegas helping clients in the casino and gaming industry, as well as other regulated businesses, across Nevada for over 15 years.
She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books on US gaming law, including most recently, The Law of Regulated Gambling: A Practical Guide for Business Lawyers, American Bar Association (2020), and That (Expletive) Broad: Women Who Broke Barriers in the Casino and Gaming Industry (2020).
Is sports betting legal in Oklahoma?
No. The likelihood of Oklahoma sports betting becoming legal any time in the immediate future is rather slim.
Is online sports betting legal in Oklahoma?
No. Oklahoma online sports betting is not legal and it will probably be some time before it is, if at all.
At the heart of the impasse over the introduction of Oklahoma sports betting is the relationship between the state legislature and several native tribes.
Between them, the 33 recognized tribes in the state own and operate more than 100 casinos. These include the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville. At more than 600,000 square feet, this is the world’s largest casino.
This is a huge industry in Oklahoma. By 2016, the tribes were generating nearly $10 billion in annual economic output and about 75,000 jobs. That translated into more than $20 million a year in tax revenues. However, when Kevin Stitt took over as state governor in 2019, he sought to renegotiate the 2005 tribal compact under which the casinos operated.
This led to a legal stand-off and, in 2020, Stitt negotiated a compact with two tribes – the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria – which would have allowed both to offer sports betting at two of their casinos.
In July 2020, however, the state Supreme Court overwhelmingly voted against the governor’s plans. The court’s verdict made it clear that legislation would first be needed to legalize sports betting. This sent Governor Stitt, and all hopes of an early introduction of Oklahoma sports betting, back to square one.
After the Supreme Court’s decision, the two tribes in question announced that they would go ahead with the renegotiated compacts anyway.
But while that may technically mean that they could offer sports betting, they decided to hold off until legislation went through.
Although sports betting would undoubtedly boost the revenues of these tribes – and the other 31 in the state – they are not going to rush into it if it jeopardizes their current, extremely lucrative, business in any way.
With the tribes largely happy with the status quo, and the state governor at odds with the state legislature, it is hard to see Oklahoma sports betting launching any time soon.
There are three horse and greyhound racing tracks established throughout the Sooner State, and a handful of Off-Track-Betting (OTB) locations, which are each licensed and managed by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission (OHRC). The tracks all accept bets on races and have done for years, the one exception to the hard rule of no sports betting in Oklahoma.
The OHRC permits account wagering via self-serve terminals and telephone, but their rules do not provide for the placement of wagers online or via mobile device. Therefore, although horse racing betting sites may offer their services in Oklahoma, this is likely not sanctioned by the OHRC.
Oklahoma is one of many states where Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) has never been declared illegal. At the same time, it has never been specifically legalized either. There was an attempt in 2016 to pass DFS legislation, however this was shut down by the Oklahoma tribes over concerns that the legislation would violate their gaming compacts with the state.
As things stand, therefore, DFS operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel – and the many people who use their services – are operating in a legal gray area, albeit with little fear of prosecution.
The gigantic revenues generated by the state’s casinos prove that Oklahomans like to gamble, which makes this a happy hunting ground for DFS.
NBA fantasy games are popular thanks to the presence of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the state’s only major pro team. But baseball, hockey, and football games are popular too.
The exploits of the Oklahoma Sooners football team ensures that college sports games also do plenty of business.
Football is without a doubt the top sport in Oklahoma – just ask the 90,000 who flock to see the Sooners and the Cowboys face off each year in the biggest college clash in these parts. Yes, the NFL has some fans too, but college is where it’s at here.
The presence of more than 100 casinos in Oklahoma means that the state is extremely familiar with the need to encourage responsible gambling.
Gambling is fun for the vast majority of people. However, for some it can lead to problems with addiction, leading to financial and emotional issues.
Oklahoma clearly recognizes this and has several resources in place to help people affected by such issues:
Oklahoma Association for Problem and Compulsive Gambling offers a wide range of help including educational programs, and information on treatment and prevention.
The Chickasaw Nation is one of the dozens of tribes who run casinos in the state. It runs self-exclusion programs and educates its employees on the importance of responsible gambling.
SmartPlayOK brings together the tribes and local responsible gambling groups to campaign and raise the profile of responsible gambling measures.
The National Council on Problem Gambling has a presence in each state, offering access to a 24-hour confidential helpline as well as a stack of other resources.
Oklahoma voters back local tribes’ rights to offer casino games on sovereign land.
The tribes sign a compact that enshrines the conditions under which they can offer casino services.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, opening the way for states to allow sports betting.
State governor Kevin Stitt tries to renegotiate the gaming compact to increase revenue to the state – the tribes resist.
Governor Stitt’s attempt to launch a new compact with two tribes that would allow sports betting is crushed by the state Supreme Court. The Oklahoma Supreme Court makes it clear that legalizing sportsbooks in the state is something that needs to be done by the Legislature.
All parties agree to wait for legislation to pass before attempting to launch Oklahoma sports betting.
The short answer is, nowhere. Despite the presence of more than 100 casinos in the state, you cannot place a sports bet at any of them. Similarly, there is no such thing at present, and for the foreseeable future, as Oklahoma online sports betting.
No. There are no Oklahoma betting sites and no licensed sportsbooks offering Oklahoma online betting. After a complex legal wrangle, it has become clear that legislation will be needed before sports betting can begin in the state – which may be some time in the future.
The only sports on which you can bet in Oklahoma is horse and greyhound racing – there are three racetracks in the state. However, general Oklahoma sports betting is still not allowed. Despite the presence of more than 100 casinos in Oklahoma, you cannot bet on sports at any of them or on your mobile device.
DraftKings is one of the leading suppliers of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games. They operate in a gray area in Oklahoma; they have not been declared illegal, but they have not been specifically legalized either. However, DraftKings definitely can’t operate its sportsbook here – there are no Oklahoma betting sites yet.
There are many places where you can gamble in Oklahoma. The state is home to more than 100 casinos, including the largest in the world, the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville. You can also gamble at racetracks. However, there is nowhere for you to legally enjoy Oklahoma sports betting – in person or online.