The campaign to legislate for Oklahoma sports betting has been a rocky one. Numerous attempts have been made within the last few decades to legalize sports gambling in Oklahoma; however, these endeavors have been unsuccessful, so wagering on sports in the notoriously conservative state remains illegal. But while there are currently no state-approved sportsbook operators, Oklahoma sports betting enthusiasts aged 18 and over can enjoy wagering at many offshore online sportsbooks. They are also permitted to place bets on horses at state-sponsored race tracks.
The Sooner State is home to more than 140 casinos, most of which are managed by Native tribes, and operators have campaigned relentlessly for these venues to be permitted to offer sportsbooks. However, unfortunately for Oklahoma sports betting hopefuls, the state congress officials hold strict morals and don’t particularly condone gambling. With the campaigners and state lawmakers at loggerheads, it could be long before we see any movement in pursuing Oklahoma sports betting legalization.
Legal Sports Betting in Oklahoma
As of 2022, legal sports betting in Oklahoma is not permitted. While change is potentially on the horizon regarding the state’s gambling laws, likely, this will only cover land-based sports betting. With no sign of legalized sports betting being legislated for in the Sooner State, Oklahoma sports betting hopefuls will have to rely on licensed offshore bookmakers, such as BetOnline and Bovada, for the time being.
Mobile sports betting apps are not something that the State Legislature often debates. Instead, Oklahoma sports betting advocates have been occupied with attempting to create a simple land-based system for sports gambling. If and when online sports betting is legalized in Oklahoma, it is reasonable to assume that mobile apps will be available to Oklahoma sports betting fans; however, this is likely to be a long time in the future.
How To Pick An Oklahoma Sports Betting Site
Although the Sooner State doesn’t yet allow mobile sports gambling apps, Oklahoma sports betting devotees can gamble on sports safely and securely using their phone browsers. First, however, always ensure that you bet on a trusted bookmaker that’s licensed and has a decent reputation with positive customer reviews.
Only once you’ve collected a list of credible sites should you compare the best offers and promotions to make an informed choice. Don’t just compare bonuses according to their size; ensure to look at rollover – promos with a low rollover are usually simpler to cash out, while those with high rollovers can be more complex. Good online reviews will support a reputable site. In addition, it will provide an acceptable level of customer support, such as a 24-hour chat service, a helpline, and an informative FAQs section. Before registering with any gambling site, always ensure you read the attached terms and conditions and fully understand them.
History / Timeline Of Sports Betting in Oklahoma
The road to Oklahoma sports betting legalization has been a long one – for many decades of the 20 th century, the state didn’t even allow horse race betting, while casinos weren’t permitted until after the turn of the new millennium.
Oklahoma has been notoriously conservative regarding gambling laws, and the sanctioning of sports betting in the Sooner State goes back to the First World War. In 1916, when Native American tribes were relocated to Oklahoma, the state banned all forms of real-money wagering to avert gambling-related violence.
It took more than 60 years before things started looking promising for Oklahoma sports betting fans. The state finally legalized pari-mutuel betting on horse racing in 1982, paving the way for more relaxed Oklahoma sports betting laws. Five years later, in 1987, the Oklahoma sports betting campaign was boosted when the Choctaw Tribe hosted the state’s first high-stakes bingo game.
Things continued to change, albeit slowly, into the 1990s. The early decade saw several Native tribes partner up to offer lotteries, bingo, and electronic gambling machines to Oklahoma sports betting enthusiasts. The Charitable Games Act also permitted the Alcohol Beverage Law Commission to host raffles, pull tabs, and bingo.
It took until after the millennium for further movement in the Oklahoma sports betting legalization campaign. Finally, in 2003, a proposal for a state lottery went before a general election ballot. The proposal was approved, and the Oklahoma Lottery Commission and Lottery Trust Fund were established. Tickets for the new lottery, part of the Multi-State Lottery Association, first went on sale in October 2005.
In 2004, Oklahoma State officials upgraded the Native Tribal compacts from Class II gaming agreements to Class III. This permitted the tribes to open land-based casinos within the state. In 2013, the state tribes pushed for permission to offer legal online sports betting; however, this was refused.
A major development in the United States gambling landscape occurred in 2018. The Professional and Amateur Sports Act (PAPSA) of 1992, which gave individual states authority to pass legislation legalizing sports betting, was overturned by the US Supreme court. This development seemed to motivate the Oklahoma sports further betting advocates.
From 2020 onwards, there has been a lot of activity in the Oklahoma sports betting legalization campaign, with many state tribes joining forces to lobby for it. In January 2020, the original compacts between the state and the local tribes expired, enabling Governor Ken Stitt to try and push for Oklahoma sports betting to be included in the new ones.
In April of that year, the Otoe-Missouria and Comanche Nation tribes requested permission in 2020 to allow sports wagering at their casinos. Governor Stitt approved authorization, but, unfortunately for Oklahoma sports betting hopefuls, the request was blocked by the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Commission. Attorney General Mike Hunter said that Governor Stitt acted unlawfully and expressed his intention to take the matter to court.
In the summer of 2020, the Oklahoma State Supreme Court heard the case for tribal compacts to allow for sports wagering and denied it.
In January 2022, Rep Ken Luttrell of the Oklahoma House of Representatives filed a sports betting bill regulating sports gambling in the state. House Bill 3008, which would sanction sports gambling and see it rolled out across the state’s numerous tribal casinos, was passed a few months later. However, Oklahoma sports betting campaigners were let down again when the bill died before legislators adjourned until next year.
But not all is lost – the path to legalizing Oklahoma sports betting still looks hopeful. Luttrell has vowed to continue the fight to sanction sports gambling in the Sooner State, agreeing to liaise with tribal gaming partners and the Senate in pursuing Oklahoma sports betting legalization.
Oklahoma Sports Teams
Sports teams in the Sooner State consistently perform well at national and local levels, so Oklahoma sports betting hopefuls would have an array of options if the gambling laws were changed. For example, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the state’s National Basketball Association major league franchise, and the team is renowned for having an exceptionally loyal and enthusiastic following. Reportedly, Thunder fans are more likely to attend major home games than most of the other National Basketball Association fan bases. For Oklahoma sports betting hopefuls looking at the National Basketball Association’s official minor league, the state has the Oklahoma City Blues, formerly the Tulsa 66ers.
Oklahoma sports betting lovers have a wide choice in the state’s many minor league teams. The Oklahoma City Dodgers and the Tulsa Drillers are the state’s Minor League Baseball teams; for those interested in ice hockey, the state’s most exceptional mid-level professional team is the Tulsa Oilers.
College athletics is also popular in the Sooner State and might appeal to prospective Oklahoma sports betting enthusiasts. Four schools compete at the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), the highest level of college sports. These are the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles, the University of Oklahoma Sooners, the Oklahoma State University Cowboys and Cowgirls, and the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.
The Oklahoma Sooners from the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys are ranked among the best football teams in the country and attract well over 50,000 supporters to their games. In addition, both universities meet throughout the year to compete in rivalry matches called the Bedlam Series. As well as college athletics and football, college basketball is also popular in the state, giving Oklahoma sports betting fans even more options.
For Oklahoma sports betting devotees interested in football, the Oklahoma Thunders is based in Tulsa and plays in the Gridiron Developmental Football League. Some soccer teams that fans might consider putting wagers on including the United Soccer League’s FC Tulsa and Oklahoma City Energy.
Softball is significant in the Sooner State, with Oklahoma City being the base of USA Softball, the sport’s governing body. The state capital also houses the USA Softball Hall of Fame and hosts the annual Women’s College World Series as part of the NCAA Division I Softball Tournament. Wrestling is also big business and has a robust tradition in the state.
Still Water is home to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, while Oklahoma has more NCAA championship titles than any other state. The state’s success in wrestling is down to the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who have an impressive 34 NCAA wrestling championship titles under their belt.
Golf is likely to be popular with Oklahoma sports betting fans. Southern Hills is ranked among the top golf courses in the country and has played host to four Professional Golfers’ Association of America Championships, including three US Opens.
Retail Sports Betting in Oklahoma
As of 2022, wagering on sports in retail settings is still unofficial in the Sooner State, so Oklahoma sports betting fans will either have to wait until the law is changed or take a trip out of state. However, Oklahoma is home to almost 150 casinos, all offering Class III gaming for those looking to have fun with table and card games.
Most of the state’s casinos are owned and operated by the Native tribes and offer everything from slot machines to video poker and numerous popular table games such as roulette, blackjack, and more. In addition, all four of the Sooner State’s racing tracks permit gambling. Oklahoma City’s Remington Park Racetrack and Casino have more than 750 slot machines, which include international successes such as Buffalo Gold, 10,000 Rubies, Dancing Drums, and Aztec Chief.
For Oklahoma sports betting hopefuls who enjoy land-based wagering, why not consider a trip to a neighboring state? Sports gambling is now legal at designated casinos in Colorado, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Louisiana.
Most of Oklahoma’s casinos are owned and operated by Native tribes. There are up to 131 tribal casinos in the state, and they could potentially all cater to Oklahoma sports betting fans if the proposals in House bill 3008 are revisited in 2023. As the Otoe-Missouria and Comanche Nations have been particularly prominent in the Oklahoma sports betting legalization movement, it’s reasonable to assume that these tribes could be among the first to launch sports gambling in their casinos.
There are eight casinos in the state owned and operated by these two tribes; they include: the Otoe-Missouria owns the state’s four 7 Clans Casinos – the Paradise, Red Rock, Perry, and Chilocco; while the Comanche run the Comanche Nation, Star, Red River Hotel, and Spur Casinos.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Like many other states where sports gambling is not yet sanctioned, Daily fantasy sports (DFS) betting is a grey area in Oklahoma. When the US Government passed the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, it defined daily fantasy sports as skill-based games instead of games of chance, creating a legal loophole allowing people to bet on daily fantasy sports . Oklahoma sports betting fans enjoy all the major daily fantasy sports operators, such as FanDuel, DraftKings, Yahoo Fantasy Sports, and PlayDraft.
Interestingly, Oklahoma tried to regulate daily fantasy sports in 2016 with House Bill 2278. However, the bill, which would see the establishment of the Oklahoma Fantasy Contests Act, was hindered due to opposition from the tribes.
Offshore Sports Betting
As online sports betting is not yet legal in the state, Oklahoma sports betting hopefuls might put wagers at an offshore online sportsbook. However, like most US states, offshore betting is a legal grey area with the current legislation prohibiting or permitting the practice.
While offshore gambling is the only way Oklahoma residents can legally wager on sports online, offshore sites are more likely to be unregulated. Therefore, before you part with any money, you should always do your research and ensure the offshore platform you’re using is regulated and licensed.
The site should have a standing reputation and be known to be credible and reliable. Always read customer reviews to verify that your chosen offshore bookmaker processes payments without unnecessary delays. Offshore sites based in Curacao and Costa Rica, such as BetOnline, Bovada, BetUS, and XBet, are recognized internationally and are safe and secure.
Oklahoma Horse Racing & Off-Track Betting
The Oklahoma Horse Racing Act was enacted in 1983, allowing Oklahoma sports betting enthusiasts to put money on race tracks. While the Oklahoma Racing Act regulates horse race wagering in the Sooner State, individual municipalities have the authority to permit or prohibit this betting on a local level.
Oklahoma sports betting devotees can access off-track wagering at several casinos and roadhouse cafes in the state. These venues permit players to bet on both international and regional events while watching multicasts of races.
Players can also bet on horse races via phone or online using advance deposit wagering services. International bookmakers and local race tracks offer these, such as Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Fair Meadows in Tulsa, Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, and Remington Park in Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma off-track betting venues include the Elk City Holiday Inn, Henry Hudson’s Pub in Midwest City, The Biltmore, McSalty’s Pizza, and Varsity Sports Grill, all in the state capital.
Final Thoughts / Summary
The future of sports wagering in the Sooner State is still uncertain. Whether or not the campaign for Oklahoma sports betting legalization is successful remains to be seen. However, with the tribal campaigners and advocates such as Governor Ken Stitt, there is certainly strong support for sanctioning sports gambling within the Sooner State.
However, despite such positive support, it’s worth noting that there is also opposition within the state legislature that seems reluctant to budge. So as long as the Oklahoma sports betting advocates keep up their fight, there appears to be at least some hope. While online sports betting might be a long way off, it’s certainly conceivable that sportsbooks could soon be permitted at the state’s tribal casinos.