Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has reiterated his intention to legalize sports betting in the Sooner State, setting out a new timeline to do so. Last Friday, Stitt said he wants state lawmakers to sign off on sports betting during the four-month legislative session that begins February 6.
Stitt commented: “If we’re going to do it, I’m the kind of person that says, ‘hey, let’s get it done now.” The Governor said he wants to see mobile sports gaming so people can easily place wagers on their phones.
He further claimed revenue from sports betting would go toward education and economic development in Oklahoma. To do this, Stitt says he needs to bring together all the parties involved to discuss what legalized sports betting should look like in the Sooner State.
Of these important parties, it is unclear whether Stitt will get the backing of the state’s Native American Tribes, with whom he has clashed in the past. These Tribes hold the exclusive right to offer gambling in the state.
Despite his rocky relationship with several of Oklahoma’s major tribes, Stitt, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation, expressed confidence that Tribal leaders will come to the negotiating table. The Tribes have indicated they will be amenable to dealing with Stitt in the future, following his retention of the state governorship in November 2022.
Stitt commented: “Right now, we’re just kind of studying it, bringing all the stakeholders together. We’ve got some casinos that want to be a part of that. We’ve got the (Oklahoma City) Thunder … and the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State athletic departments that want to weigh in.”