House Bill 1027 has cleared a subcommittee vote in the Sooner State, as reported by the Oklahoman.
Tribal nations in Oklahoma have exclusive gaming rights and currently pay the state a share of proceeds every month. If HB027 is passed, Tribes could offer in-person sports betting, online sports betting or both. HB 1027 has so far passed 5-0 through a House Appropriations subcommittee.
Talks on sports betting are now happening with Tribal leaders. The full House Appropriations and Budget Committee will need to pass the bill before it can advance to the floor. State Representative Ken Luttrell, a Cherokee Nation citizen, introduced a similar sports betting proposal in 2022 that failed.
Both Tribal leaders and state officials will need to come to terms over how much money the state will receive from sports betting operations. The payments added up to $19.1m in January, the most ever recorded by the state. However, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has said the state’s existing payments from Tribal gaming are too low.
Stitt says he wants any deal to be “fair and transparent,” so Oklahoma may “maximize revenue potential to invest in top priorities, like education.” Most of the money the state generates through gaming fees goes to schools.
There is no consensus yet among leaders of the 35 Tribes that operate gaming in Oklahoma. Matthew Morgan, Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Chair, said, “No one wants to upend the existing state-tribal model gaming compact, which covers slot machines with random odds and some types of table games.”
Republican Senator Bill Coleman recently signed on as the bill’s author in the Senate.
If passed, Oklahoma would spend some of the money it receives from sports betting to help people who are addicted to gambling.