Betting on the Sooners, Thunder and Cowboys from within the Sooner State is a potential reality now following a Supreme Court decision that cleared the path for states to legalize sports betting.
After the 6-3 ruling, which struck down a 1992 federal law that prohibited sports gambling, states across the country face a decision on legalizing the estimated hundred-billion dollar sports betting industry within their borders.
In Oklahoma, the focus will first start on the tribal compacts, said State Rep. Pat Ownbey (R).
“My first thought when I saw the decision was — compacts,” Ownbey said. “We wanted to renegotiate on ball and dice. But sports betting would be a lot bigger than ball and dice games. I can’t imagine — with the gambling that’s going on across the state here — that this wouldn’t be as big as anything.”
In a statement to The Ardmoreite, Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce Bill Lance said the Supreme Court’s decision is a vital first step in creating a safe and well-regulated gaming market.
“We look forward to working with the State of Oklahoma on a compacting supplement to address sports pool, which is something that could be easily implemented along the lines of what the Oklahoma Legislature made room for with respect to “ball and dice” games this past session.”
Lance added, “We believe such a step would be critical to protecting and enhancing the tribal gaming market that already provides substantial fiscal benefits to Oklahoma, the gaming tribes, and all Oklahomans.”
The next scheduled compact negotiation is slated for 2020, but Ownbey said if both parties, the Oklahoma State governor and tribal gaming representatives agreed that date could be pushed forward.
“I think the best thing to do is go back in the compact and not to legislate this. We’ll see how this plays out but I imagine it will be a pretty big deal, sports gambling is rampant,” he said.
The incentive to iron out an agreement is there for both sides.
The American Gaming Association estimates that illegal sports gambling is a $1.6 billion industry annually in Oklahoma alone. Nationwide, that total rises to $150 billion per year.
“If we negotiate, more money comes into the state, that would mean more revenues for teachers and the state budget as a whole,” Ownbey said. “There’s gambling, legal or not, going on in states. If Oklahoma legalized it, with what we see in Las Vegas in sports gambling, I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be a similar situation here.”