A legislation to officially legalize sports wagering in Oklahoma has been defeated in the State Senate, meaning it is dead for the ongoing legislative session.
Reason for rejection:
The legislation, which was previously approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives and received a bipartisan support, stalled in the State Senate, resulting in a hearing that never came before the deadline.
According to the bill’s author, Rep. Ken Luttrell, the reason for this is that “Senators wanted there to be more discussions between Governor Kevin Stitt and the tribes who would ultimately have to amend the state’s tribal gaming compact before in-person and mobile sports betting could ever begin.”
On that note, he also told FOX23 news partner KOCO News 5 in Oklahoma City: “My colleagues saw the advantage, the economic advantage to this, this restoration of tribal-legislative relations.”
Furthermore, as FOX23 reported last December, Gov. Kevin Stitt was hopeful the sports wagering legislation would pass this legislative session, as long as Oklahoma could arrange a fair deal with the tribes and local sports teams they bet on.
On that note, he told FOX23 before the session began: “We’ve seen it in New Jersey and in many other states, and now it’s right on our doorstep with Kansas doing it.”
Largest endorsement ever in state legislature:
Since the vast majority of the state parliament openly supported this sports betting bill, the author will try to pass it again throughout the next year.
In that regard, Luttrell said: “There is more support than ever before for sports betting in the state legislature, and I will try again during next year’s session.”
Furthermore, the bill’s co-sponsor in the Senate will work between now and next session to win support in the upper legislative chamber for a second attempt next year.
Pressure is mounting on Oklahoma lawmakers to legalize sports wagering:
Oklahoma lawmakers won’t be able to last long amid pressure to officially legalize sports wagering because it’s legal within the borders of its neighbors like Kansas and Arkansas, while Oklahoma residents have to go to another state just to place a bet.
Commenting on the problem, Gov. Stitt said: “Taxes and fees Oklahomans have been paying to those states could be used for education, transportation, and economic development incentives in Oklahoma.”
In addition, many US states are legalizing sports wagering as a way to make money from what was and in some states is an unregulated activity. At the start of the year, 33 states and Washington D.C. allowed sports wagering.
On that note, yesterday, Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, called on Gov. Kevin Stitt “to work with tribal leaders to advance sports betting in the future.”