Oklahoma Governor in Favor of Legalizing Sports Betting

  • Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt tweeted his support for legalizing sports betting
  • Previous efforts to legalize the activity in the state have been unsuccessful
  • A recently introduced bill would allow for both online and retail sports betting
  • One area of concern is Governor Stitt’s tense relationship with many of the tribes in the state
Kevin Stitt
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has announced that he is in favor of legalizing sports betting. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Giving his support

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is in favor of pushing ahead with legalizing sports betting in the state.

provided that it’s fair, transparent, and the state can maximize revenue potential”

In a tweet on Tuesday, Stitt outlined his support, “Provided that it’s fair, transparent, and the state can maximize revenue potential to invest in top priorities, like education.” He also stated that more is to come on the matter, with the 2023 legislative session kicking off on February 6.

The latest push

Previous efforts to legalize sports betting in Oklahoma have been unsuccessful. One of those who has been leading the charge in recent years has been Representative Ken Luttrell, who has introduced sports betting bills in multiple legislative sessions. Luttrell believes that large numbers of people in Oklahoma are using unregulated sportsbooks to place wagers, which means that the state is missing out on significant revenue.

Over 30 US states have already legalized sports betting since the ending of the federal ban in May 2018.

He also noted that there is little oversight of these offshore platforms, which can lead to various issues. Nearby states already have sportsbooks up and running, including in Colorado and Kansas; many people cross state lines to place their wagers. Luttrell has worked closely with tribes to develop his sports betting plan, with retail and online sports betting both being options.

A key area of concern

One of the areas of concern that might seemingly hold back legalization attempts in the past is Governor Stitt’s fraught relationship with tribes. The 39 different tribes in the state have a crucial role in political matters. Stitt’s gubernatorial re-election campaign was successful this year, despite opposition from many tribal groups.

unsuccessful attempt to renegotiate the tribal-state gambling compacts

The basis for the tense relationship between Stitt and the tribes dates back to his first year as governor, when he tried to renegotiate the tribal-state gambling compacts. His administration also tried to overturn a US Supreme Court decision in 2020 on tribal sovereignty. Last year, Governor Stitt terminated fishing and game compacts between the tribes and the state.