Stitt Faces Uphill Battle for Oklahoma Sports Betting in 2023

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (l.) is looking to get sports betting legalized by the end of 2023 but could face opposition by Native American tribes, as well as members of his own party.

Stitt Faces Uphill Battle for Oklahoma Sports Betting in 2023

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt wants legalized sports betting enacted by the end of the year but that might be a case of wishful thinking. Stitt has several opponents that he would need to convince if Oklahomans are going to be able to make a bet on their favorite team.

His biggest challenge comes from several of the Native American tribes in the state. Stitt, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation, upset the tribes when he strong-armed them into renegotiating the state’s tribal gaming compacts. He got it done but there was a lot of animosity because of it. The tribes endorsed his opponent in the November election.

His comment last week might already be a non-starter with the tribes—Stitt told a local sports radio show The Franchise that the tribes aren’t the only group that should have a say when designing a legal sports betting program.

The tribes hold the exclusive right to offer gambling in the state and might not be too keen on sharing that. Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Chairman Matthew Morgan said there is an uneasiness about working with the governor.

“I think we can all agree sports betting is occurring already in the state and that the state and tribes would love to add that as a form of gaming,” Morgan told Tulsa World. “But what does that proposal really look like in terms of who’s taking the risk and how the revenue is split up?”

Rep. Ken Luttrell said his bill would give exclusive rights to the tribes and is confident that all parties involved can work together on this issue.

“Going into the governor’s second term, he has buried the hatchet with no hard feelings over the election and the tribes supporting his opponent,” Luttrell told Tulsa World. “I think he realizes the advantages to cooperating with the tribes and working together on projects that move the state of Oklahoma forward.”

This is the second attempt by Luttrell to get sports betting passed. Last year’s effort failed but he said he believes there is more backing this time.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, however, has said he has “zero desire” to support a sports betting bill.

Stitt remains optimistic. He said he wanted state lawmakers to get sports betting legislation passed when the legislative session begins February 6.

“If we’re going to do it, I’m the kind of person that says, ‘Hey, let’s get it done now,’” Stitt told The Franchise.

Articles by Author: Roger Gros

Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business, the industry’s leading gaming trade publication, and all its related publications. Prior to joining Global Gaming Business, Gros was president of Inlet Communications, an independent consulting firm. He was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000, and held virtually every editorial title during his tenure. Gros was editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and the Atlantic City Insider, and was the founding editor of Casino Player magazine. He was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit and the Southern Gaming Summit conferences and trade shows.
Roger Gros is the author of the best-selling book, "How to Win at Casino Gambling" (Carlton Books, 1995), now in its fourth edition. Gros was named “Businessman of the Year” for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gaming Association in 2012 as part of the annual AGA Communications Awards.