The status of Oklahoma sports betting remains unclear as the governor and attorney general remain on opposite sides of the issue.
Gov. Kevin Stitt approved OK sports betting on tribal land when he renegotiated two tribal gaming compacts. The compacts, signed with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribe, permitted betting on all but in-state college teams and in-state college events.
The compacts specifically stipulate two retail locations for each tribe at their tribal casinos. Mobile is allowed as long as it is geofenced to the property.
The compacts further say the state could authorize up to five non-tribal retail Oklahoma sports betting locations in the future.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter quickly disagreed with the governor’s actions the same day the compacts were announced. He later published a formal opinion outlining why Stitt lacks the authority to offer sports betting.
The governor is only allowed to authorize tribes to operate games that are listed in the state’s Tribal Gaming Act. Sports betting, or event betting as it’s called in the compacts, is not listed in the Act.
The future of Oklahoma sports betting
At this point, it’s tough to say what will happen with Oklahoma sports betting. Gov. Stitt hedged his stance on sports betting in Oklahoma with specific text in each compact:
“For the avoidance of doubt, even if it should be found that the State’s conduct of Event Wagering is in violation of the State’s obligations, if any, under compacts with other Oklahoma tribes, such a finding shall have no effect on the Tribe’s right to engage in Event Wagering.”
That makes it pretty clear that Stitt doesn’t seem to think the state has any say in those tribal operations.
The compacts have not yet been approved by the federal Department of the Interior.
When will online Oklahoma sports betting launch?
If the two approved tribes move forward with their compact as negotiated, the answer could be fairly soon, though it comes with a significant catch.
The use of mobile devices will be limited to when bettors are actually on the tribal property. That means as soon as the bettor leaves the casino, they won’t be able to utilize that mobile betting app anymore.
Tribes could always push for more in future compact negotiations to allow for an open statewide mobile market.
Recent Oklahoma sports betting news
Legal sports betting options in Oklahoma
Right now, there are no options to place legal bets in Oklahoma.
Any sportsbooks that claim they can accept bets from someone in Oklahoma at this point is an unlicensed offshore operator. That means anyone placing a bet with that operator has no consumer protections through US laws. The book could choose to not pay out a winning bet or close operations without returning customer funds.
Oklahoma’s situation could change quickly depending on what the tribes decide to do, and what the state and federal governments allow.
Each tribe is theoretically cleared for two retail sportsbooks, meaning there are four that are allowed to open under the compacts.
That number could become drastically bigger if other tribal gaming entities decide to renegotiate their compacts. Oklahoma has 38 federally-recognized tribes, 35 of which have signed gaming compacts with the state.
If all agree to similar stipulations, that would give Oklahoma up to 70 tribal retail sportsbook operations in the state. That could jump to 75 if the state opens the five non-tribal locations mentioned in the compacts.
Most popular sports to bet in Oklahoma
It’s certainly a disappointment that the compact bars betting on in-state colleges since. There is plenty of interest on college sports, especially the football and basketball programs for the Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
NCAA betting in Oklahoma
That said, betting on other Big XII college football and basketball games could be significant as Sooners and Cowboys fans will be familiar with the other teams in the leagues.
NBA betting in Oklahoma
Oklahoma also has one major league professional team, the NBA‘s Oklahoma City Thunder. So Thunder games and other NBA games might get more action than other professional leagues.
NFL betting in Oklahoma
The state’s proximity to Texas could lead to significant betting on the NFL‘s Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans as well.
Oklahoma and daily fantasy sports
While not explicitly legal in state law, daily fantasy sports operators do accept contest entries from customers in Oklahoma.
Some states have chosen to regulate the companies so they can tax those contests. Other state attorneys general have said the contests are outright illegal.
Oklahoma falls into the other category, meaning DraftKings and FanDuel can still operate freely within the state.
Is horse racing legal in Oklahoma?
Yes, horse racing and betting are legal in Oklahoma.
There are three horse racing tracks in Oklahoma:
- Fair Meadows Tulsa
- Remington Park
- Will Rogers Downs
All three facilities also offer simulcast betting. Remington Park and Will Rogers Downs are tribal-owned and also feature casinos. The Chickasaw Nation operates Remington Park and the Cherokee Nation operates Will Rogers Downs.
Oklahoma sports betting timeline
2020: OK sports betting comes out of nowhere
Gov. Stitt and most of Oklahoma’s gaming tribes were in disagreement as to what happened with their gaming compacts Jan. 1.
Stitt started looking to renegotiate the compacts in 2019 after stating the compacts would expire on Jan. 1.
In July 2019, 29 tribes signed a letter sent to Stitt explaining to him that they believed their compacts would automatically renew on Jan. 1.
The Cherokee, Chickasaw and Chocktaw nations filed a federal lawsuit that was eventually joined by nine other tribes. The Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe were a part of that lawsuit but dropped out as part of the settlement after renegotiating their compacts.
Stitt eventually offered sports betting as part of a new compact for multiple tribes in March, but those tribes turned down the offer, according to a local report citing the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association.
Attorney General Mike Hunter then published an official opinion suggesting Stitt does not have the authority to “authorize gaming activity prohibited by state law.”
Oklahoma sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Oklahoma?
Right now, that’s unclear but no one can place a bet at the moment. The state and two tribes agreed to terms for a new compact that included sports betting but they have not yet been approved by the Department of the Interior.
The state’s attorney general issued a formal opinion saying the governor does not have the authority to approve games not allowed under state law.
Where can I bet on sports in Oklahoma?
There are currently no legal betting options in Oklahoma.
Can I bet on sports on my phone in Oklahoma?
If the two pending compacts are approved then yes, it will be legal to bet on your phone in Oklahoma.
But there’s a catch: it is geofenced to the tribal land. So statewide mobile betting in Oklahoma is not approved through the compacts.
Any website that suggests betting from within Oklahoma is legal is operating without a US license as an offshore sportsbook. Those operations give bettors no consumer protections, meaning there’s no guarantee bets will be paid out. The operations could also close without refunding customer accounts.
Where can I bet on sports at a casino in Oklahoma?
If the compacts are approved, the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe can add two retail sportsbooks each.
The Comanche Nation currently has four casinos throughout the state. The compact also approves three more casino locations as long as the land can be taken into trust.
The Otoe-Missouria Tribe has five casinos under the 7 Clans Casino brand and can open three more under the new compact as long as the land can be taken into trust.