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Oklahoma Governor’s Sports Betting Plan Sidesteps Tribes

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has a plan for bringing regulated sports betting to the Sooner State. His plan, however, came as complete surprise to other sports betting interests in the state, including other lawmakers and the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA). Both groups expressed concern and anger that Governor Stitt would be moving forward on a sports betting plan without consulting them first.

On its face, there’s nothing especially controversial about Stitt’s regulated sports betting plan. Under the proposed legislation, which includes a 20 percent tax on retail revenue; a 15 percent tax on mobile wagers; and a ban on college player props, but that’s not what’s controversial about the plan.

Representatives of the OIGA responded to Stitt’s plan in a statement saying, “The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association was not consulted prior to Gov. Stitt releasing his sports betting plan. The members of the OIGA have been preparing to receive an offer from the State on sports betting for the past couple of years, and while we appreciate Gov. Stitt finally joining the sports betting conversation, to date he has not engaged in meaningful and respectful government-to-government discussion with tribes.”

For his part, Stitt continued ignoring the tribes telling Oklahoma News 4 KFOR, “I promised Oklahomans if we pursued sports betting, we would do it right— and this plan does just that. Thirty-five states have already legalized sports betting, and it’ll be a great revenue stream for the state. Tribes will be able to add it onto their existing infrastructure, and Oklahomans can access it right from their phones.”

Oklahoma lawmakers have pledged to work with Stitt on the plan, but hard feelings will no doubt be a factor as the effort to bring regulated sports betting to Oklahoma moves forward.