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Oklahoma governor sets out legal sports betting plans

| By Robert Fletcher
Kevin Stitt, the governor of Oklahoma, has set out proposals to legalise online and in-person sports betting in the US state.
Kambi Choctaw Nation Oklahoma

Oklahoma is one of only 15 states yet to regulate sports wagering. However, Stitt’s proposal could open the door for the state to open a legal market.

Plans are at an early stage, but Stitt has set out how the market could work in Oklahoma.

Retail betting would be limited to federally recognised Indian tribes, in line with a state-tribal gaming compact. Stitt said in-person wagering revenue 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 (£409,795/€470,463), plus an annual renewal charge of $100,000.

Mobile licence-holders would be able to accept sports bets from anywhere inside the state of Oklahoma. They would also be subject to a higher tax rate than retail operators, with this set at 20% of revenue.

“I promised Oklahomans if we pursued sports betting, we would do it right – and this plan does just that,” Stitt said. “Some 35 states have already legalised sports betting and it’ll be a great revenue stream for the state. 

“Tribes will be able to add it onto their existing infrastructure and Oklahomans can access it right from their phone.”

Stitt aims to protect Oklahoma college sports

The wider proposal includes plans on prohibited wagers. Many of these relate to betting on college sports in Oklahoma.

Betting would not be permitted on the individual performance of student-athletes, coaches or referees. Consumers will also not be able to make prop bets on collegiate competitions.

Stitt says he is actively awaiting input from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and athletic conferences before finalising these plans.

In addition, the initial proposal states bettors will not be permitted to place bets on player injuries.

Stitt’s proposal comes after a bill earlier this year hinted that Oklahoma could be looking to legalise sports betting.

House Bill 1027 was introduced to the House of Representatives in February with the aim of allowing tribes to add legal sports betting to their existing gaming compacts. This is similar to the new plans set out by Stitt.

The House passed the bill in mid-March, after which it progressed to the Senate. However, the bill did not progress further and has been stagnant since late May. 

A total of 35 tribes currently offer some form of gambling in Oklahoma.

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