When it comes to Oklahoma sports betting news, nothing but drama has followed the attempts in recent years. Governor Kevin Stitt has been on the outs with the local tribes, as they simply haven’t been able to get on the same page. This has been a big issue in the past and it looks like this is going to be the case moving forward. That’s because the newly-proposed Oklahoma sports betting bill is under fire. Matter of fact, people have been furious with it since it was released on Nov. 2.
Last week, Stitt and his officials released a new sports betting plan that would reportedly allow for in-person betting to be allowed at casinos on federally recognized tribal land. However, the online betting part is a bit unclear – but this would take sports betting control away from the local tribes. On top of that, 15 percent of all sports betting revenue would be taxed. This new bill came in from out of nowhere.
“I promised Oklahomans if we pursued sports betting, we would do it right – and this plan does just that,” Stitt said in a release on the new bill presented for legal sports betting to arrive in Oklahoma. “Thirty-five states have already legalized sports betting, and it’ll be a great revenue stream for the state.”
For months, there had been a lot of speculation that Stitt would meet with the local tribes and the two sides would work together to try and come up with the best bill to please Oklahoma sports fans. However, it’s being reported that the tribes and other gaming officials weren’t even consulted about Stitt’s project. A lot of people feel like they’ve been disrespected by this surprise bill. If anything, it’s caused even more division among sports betting proponents.
Today I rolled out my plan to bring sports betting to Oklahoma.
I promised if we pursued sports betting, we’d do it right— and this plan does just that.
— Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) November 2, 2023
Tribal leaders are calling Kevin Stitt out over his sports betting plan
It’s no surprise to see that tribal leaders are calling Kevin Stitt out over his sports betting plan. Again, Stitt came in from out of nowhere to drop things on everyone. This would be different if he spoke with local tribes so that they could come up with a plan that would be in the best interest of people across the state. Instead, Stitt went out on his own and a lot of folks out there can’t believe it. What was he thinking here?
“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,” Chocktaw Nations Chief Gary Batton said in a statement with his reaction to Stitt’s plan.
Last week, I rolled out my plan to bring sports betting to Oklahoma.
Tribal partners can conduct in-person betting at gaming facilities, and Oklahomans can place bets directly from their phones.
My plan protects athletes, coaches, refs— and it’s a great deal for the state.
— Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) November 7, 2023
There’s no question that sports betting in Oklahoma is needed, especially with people focused on NCAAF betting this time of year. In total, nearly 40 states have legalized sports wagers and more states will be on the way in 2024. It’s a huge revenue builder and it helps reduce the number of illegal activity that’s been going on. However, there’s more to legalization than just writing up a sports bill and hoping that things get passed on a ballot.
This is where Stitt made a mistake, from our chair. The tribal leaders feel as though they don’t have any say on this matter moving forward and that’s exactly what will be the case if Stitt’s plan goes into action. As you can tell from that quote from Batton, he doesn’t think that Stitt made the right decision in moving forward without getting more ideas put on his plate. People are not happy and it’s easy to see why. We’ll see if Stitt changes course here.
People are not happy with the online sports betting plan
Another cause for concern here is that people are not happy with the online sports betting plan. Per Stitt’s release, online betting would be run by organizations approved by the state. On top of that, online betting will be taxed at 20 percent and there will be a licensing fee of $500,000. All of those details have people up in arms, as it once again would lead to the local tribes having basically no say in how things are run.
In other states in the USA, we’ve seen the local governments work closely with local tribes to move things forward. Take a look at Florida sports betting news for example. It was just announced that things will be re-launched in December, as the 30-year pact between Governor Ron DeSantis and The Seminole Tribe is back in business. With that, The Seminole Tribe is in charge of running sports betting for the state.
DeSantis is working closely with them instead of shutting them away. This is the main issue that tribes in Oklahoma have, as they feel like Stitt isn’t even bothering to try and connect with them. People want sports betting to arrive soon, but the last thing they want to see is more drama between Stitt and the tribes. We can only hope relations will improve down the road, but things aren’t looking strong.