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Kambi pens sportsbook deal with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

| By Robert Fletcher
Kambi Group has entered into a multi-state sportsbook agreement with Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, one of the largest Indian Nations in the US.
Kambi Choctaw Nation Oklahoma

Under the deal, Kambi will provide its sports betting technology and services to the Choctaw Nation’s gaming entities. This covers both online and retail sports betting.

The Choctaw Nation operates Choctaw Casinos & Resorts, which owns a network of gaming and hospitality destinations throughout south-eastern Oklahoma. Properties include its flagship casino location near to the Texas border.

The deal comes despite Oklahoma having not yet legalised sports betting and the placing of bets, either in person or online, remains illegal. This is despite the state having more than 130 Native American gaming and casino facilities.

Kambi, however, notes that the new agreement includes scope to expand into other states, both across online and retail, pending regulatory approvals.

“Landmark” sports betting deal for Kambi

Kambi’s CEO and co-founder Kristian Nylén welcomes the agreement. He describes it as a “landmark” partnership for Kambi with exciting long-term potential.

“Not only does the Choctaw Nation have fantastic, well positioned gaming and entertainment facilities in Oklahoma, but its proven track record in developing successful digital businesses gives me every confidence that together we will create thrilling sports betting experiences for its players,” Nylén said.

“Due to these exciting credentials, the Choctaw Nation was an obvious partner. I am therefore delighted it saw the benefits of Kambi’s proven technology and recognised our shared values. 

“Trust remains paramount through each tribal partnership. We look forward to delivering a best-in-class sportsbook that generates long-term sustainable revenues for the Choctaw Nation.”

Heidi Grant, senior executive officer of commerce for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, also praised the new partnership. Grant says it supports the Nation’s own growth ambitions in Oklahoma and beyond.

“We are thrilled to have entered into a long-term agreement with Kambi,” Grant said. “Adding Kambi’s best-in-class technology and custom player offerings to the Choctaw Nation’s brand and market positioning, the Choctaw Nation is poised to remain well positioned as the premier, full-service, vertically integrated gaming operator throughout our region.”

Potential for legal betting in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma has tried on several occasion to legalise sports betting. However, the state is yet to move forward with any firm plans, with regulation yet to be put in place.

Hopes were raised towards the end of last year when Governor Kevin Stitt set out proposals to legalise online and in-person sports betting.

At the time, Stitt said retail betting would be limited to federally recognised Indian tribes, in line with a state-tribal gaming compact. In-person wagering revenue, Stitt added, would be taxed at a rate of 15%.

As for mobile betting, Oklahoma would award licences for operators to offer this form of betting to players. Licences would cost an initial $500,000, plus an annual renewal charge of $100,000.

Mobile licence-holders would be able to accept sports bets from anywhere inside the state. They would also be subject to a higher tax rate of 20% of revenue.

However, despite the state now nearing the end of its current legislative session, these plans are yet to come to fruition.  

Mixed Q1 for Kambi

As for Kambi, the deal comes after the group this week published its first-quarter results

Revenue for the three months to 31 March was €43.2m, but 1.8% behind the €44.0m in Q1 of last year. This, Kambi says, is also in line with expectations for the period.

Other key figures include net profit hitting €3.2m, only marginally lower than in Q1 2023. In addition, EBITDA for the quarter was 10.2% higher at €14.1m.

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