Thursday, February 8th 2024, 8:41 pm
Governor Stitt is renewing his push to legalize sportsbooks in Oklahoma, saying we’re potentially missing out on millions in state revenue.
Sports betting started expanding across the U.S. in 2018, after the Supreme Court ruled to allow each state to determine its own sports betting laws. Today, at least 35 states have legalized sports gambling and at least 28 have mobile sportsbooks.
“I had heard from a lot of Oklahomans that were already betting out of state,” said Stitt.
The states that haven’t legalized it yet have all proposed some type of legislation to bring sportsbooks in, with the exception of Idaho and Utah.
“I looked at all 35 states and came up with the average of what those states are getting,” said Stitt.
According to a report from the Kansas Lottery, the state’s first year of mobile sports betting brought in $7 million in state revenue from $1.85 billion in wagers.
“We know it's happening so we want to regulate it to make sure it's transparent and auditable and the state gets fair and reasonable compensation from that just like every other state,” said Stitt.
Governor Stitt's recent proposal allows casinos to open brick-and-mortar sportsbooks taxed at 15 percent and mobile sports betting taxed at 20 percent. Stitt explains some states such as New York tax up to 50 percent, saying he landed in the middle of what other states are taxing.
“It doesn't preclude the casinos from getting a statewide mobile license but it also doesn't preclude DraftKings or Fanduel or a local business person from coming in and getting a statewide license as well,” said Stitt.
Tribes in the state criticized Stitt’s plan, saying they want to keep exclusive gaming rights that are protected under the State-Tribal Gaming Act.
““The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association was not consulted prior to Gov. Stitt releasing his sport betting plan. The members of the OIGA have been preparing to receive an offer from the State on sports betting for the past couple of years, and while we appreciate Gov. Stitt finally joining the sports betting conversation, to date he has not engaged in meaningful and respectful government-to-government discussion with tribes. We remain hopeful that he is committed to moving forward in a productive manner in accord with established law and process, which would include working with the Oklahoma Legislature to offer a compact supplement to tribes within the State-Tribal Gaming Act construct that protects the tribes’ “substantial gaming exclusivity.” To approach it otherwise is simply to invite failure.
Since the State-Tribal Gaming Act was offered by the people of Oklahoma in 2004 and renewed in 2020, tribes have taken on 100% of costs and associated risks, paid all of the State’s monitoring expenses, exceeded all revenue projections, and have become the recognized national industry leader. Likewise, Oklahoma continues to benefit under our model compact at a rate that far exceeds any other state with an Indian Gaming Regulatory Act compact with tribal nations. We look forward to seeing the more than $2 billion dollars that gaming tribes have already contributed directly to the state continue to grow and positively impact the state’s education funding.”
“They don't like to have competition. They want the exclusive right but that's not good for Oklahoma,” said Stitt.
Stitt says legalizing sports wagering in Oklahoma could provide up to $100 million for education or other expenses, or allow for tax cuts.
“I'm always going to protect the taxpayers. My system is available for anybody that wants to operate a sportsbook. You can't get more of a free market system than that,” said Stitt. “That's my job is to think about what's good for all four million Oklahomans.”
To read more on Governor Stitt’s proposal, click here.
March 4th, 2024
March 4th, 2024