Another Gov. Stitt Showdown Likely as Lawmaker Files Oklahoma Sports Betting Bill

  • Rep. Luttrell has filed a bill seeking to add “sports pools” to the state-tribal gaming compact
  • Gov. Stitt has reportedly shown “little interest in negotiating with the tribes on gaming”
  • The Luttrell-sponsored HB 3008 would give the state a 10% cut of monthly net winnings
  • Stitt unsuccessfully attempted to have tribal gaming compacts declared invalid in 2020
  • A firm has estimated legal betting in Oklahoma could generate $240m in state revenue
Capitol building in Oklahoma
A lawmaker has revived the corpse of Oklahoma sports betting by filing a bill that would allow in-person wagering at the state’s tribal casinos. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Bill to add “sports pools”

An Oklahoma lawmaker has breathed life back into the dream of in-person sports betting at tribal casinos by filing a bill to add “sports pools” to the state-tribal gaming compact.

little interest in negotiating with the tribes”

State Representative Ken Luttrell filed House Bill 3008 Monday, setting up a potential showdown with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, who according to Tulsa World has shown “little interest in negotiating with the tribes on gaming or much else recently.”

Gaming law and sports betting attorney Daniel Wallach took to Twitter Monday to share news of the bill, which would give the state a 10% cut of monthly net winnings:

In a news release, Luttrell confirmed he is conducting talks with gaming tribes to gauge their interest in sports betting. “I feel the time is right for Oklahoma to partner with the tribes and ensure a level, competitive gaming playing field with the surrounding states,” the representative said.

Stitt a potential sticking point

As reported by Tulsa World, it is not immediately apparent who supports HB 3008 or whether the legislation would have a chance of receiving the backing of Governor Stitt. The election of Stitt in 2019 stymied sports betting discussions.

The governor unsuccessfully attempted to invalidate Oklahoma’s tribal gaming compacts, arguing that they expired on January 1, 2020. Many of the state’s tribal gaming operators, however, countered this, saying the compacts met the automatic renewal requirements for an additional 15-year term. A federal judge ruled in favor of the tribes in July 2020.

In January last year, the Oklahoma Supreme Court dismissed another two of Stitt’s gaming compacts with tribes in the state. Gaming negotiations have pretty much flatlined since then, exacerbated by the US Supreme Court’s McGirt ruling, which upset Stitt and further strengthened Oklahoma tribes’ sovereignty claims.

McGirt v Oklahoma was a landmark case. Ultimately, the US Supreme Court ruled that the eastern portion of the state will remain as Native American lands. The decision meant that the state of Oklahoma could not legally try a Creek Nation citizen for criminal conduct in state court.

Missed opportunity

Luttrell — who is a Cherokee citizen — lamented the fact that Oklahoma is currently missing out on sports betting revenue to illegal gambling or wagering across state lines.

11 offenses recently with tens of thousands of dollars seized”

Commenting on illegal wagering, Luttrell said figures he has received from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation “show 11 offenses recently with tens of thousands of dollars seized.”

The representative said, however, that the figures represented “only a fraction” of illegal gambling activity taking place in the state. Luttrell added that UK-based global consulting firm Oxford Economics Group estimated that “legal sports betting would generate $240 million in revenue for Oklahoma and create over 3,000 direct and indirect jobs.”

The Oklahoma legislature next convenes on February 7.