OKLAHOMA CITY (OBV) – Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Thursday his plan to bring sports betting to Oklahoma, but two tribal leaders are taking exception with the governor’s decision to not consult them.
Stitt’s plan allows Oklahomans to place in-person bets at gaming sites operated by federally recognized tribes – which his office says protects tribal investment in brick-and-mortar facilities – as well as on state-licensed sportsbooks via their mobile devices.
The plan also prohibits prop betting and bets on individual student-athlete performance, which protects Oklahoma’s student-athletes, according to Stitt’s office.
“I promised Oklahomans if we pursued sports betting, we would do it right— and this plan does just that,” Stitt said. “Thirty-five states have already legalized 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.”
Federally recognized tribes can conduct retail wagering, pursuant to updated tribal gaming compacts, taxed at a 15 percent rate, under Stitt’s plan, which also requires such wagers to be accepted in person.
Both Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gary Batton responded to the announcement, criticizing Stitt for not discussing his plan with them ahead of the announcement.
“Tribal leaders learning about Governor Stitt’s gaming proposals in the media. Has a real 2019 feel to it,” Hoskin said on X (formerly Twitter), referring to Stitt’s numerous attempts to change the terms of the exclusive gaming compacts the tribe has with the state.
Batton issued a statement criticizing the plan. That statement is as follows:
“Many parties, including the Choctaw Nation, have been exploring the potential of bringing sports betting to Oklahoma. One thing almost everyone agrees on is that this is an extremely complex issue, touching on existing agreements, tribal sovereignty and protecting Oklahoma’s citizens.”
Unfortunately, the governor did not consult with the Choctaw Nation before announcing his proposal, despite our many years of leadership in operating gaming in Oklahoma and our clear interest in moving the economy forward. Upon initial review, we do not believe the plan represents the best interests for the people of Oklahoma or the tribal nations that have done so much to support the state.”Chief Gary Batton, Choctaw Nation
Stitt’s plan also prohibits betting on individual performances of student-athletes, coaches and referees, as well as player injuries and prop bets at the college level.
The governor sought input from the NCAA and athletic conferences on how they would regulate the state’s betting industry. He is awaiting their feedback, according to his office.
Organizations licensed by the State of Oklahoma will oversee mobile wagering and will be taxed at a 20 percent rate.
The plan allows for bets to be accepted from anywhere in the state. Participating organizations must pay a $500,000 initial licensing fee as well as a $100,000 annual fee.
Stitt’s office issued the following fact sheet for his sports betting plan: