Gambling is alive and thriving in Oklahoma, The Soonest State. Oklahoma is home to 126 tribal casinos, thanks to its huge Native American population.
Interestingly, Oklahoma also has some of the toughest gambling laws in the country. In fact, sports betting is still a concept under review, albeit a lot of strides have been made towards actualizing it, and there are signs that the industry may go live soon.
So, where exactly does Oklahoma stand on sports betting? Will you be jailed for betting on your favorite team while in the state? This guide has answers to these and more questions.
The State of Sports Betting in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has been sending mixed messages when it comes to legalizing sports betting. The main reason is that a section of the state government is firmly against expanding gambling in the state. However, some powerful figures, including Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, say that it is time the state joined the rest of the country in legalizing the practice.
Gov. Kevin Stitt has already taken several measures in a bid to legalize sports betting. His most recent attempt was during the renegotiation of the state’s compacts with tribal casinos. The governor sought to allow two tribal casino operators to provide sports betting under the renegotiated compacts. The governor seemed to take a strongman’s attitude towards the legal barriers, saying:
“For the avoidance of doubt, even if it should be found that the state’s conduct of Event Wagering is in violation of the state’s obligations, if any, under the compacts with other Oklahoma tribes, such a finding shall have no effect on the tribe’s right to engage in Event Wagering.”
If implemented, the new agreement would license the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Comanche Nation to offer sports betting options. It is also expected that other tribes would eventually get licensing, too.
Despite the governor’s efforts to legalize sports betting, the state’s constitution simply doesn’t provide for it – and Attorney General Mike Hunter has been quick to remind the pro-sports-betting lobby of this. The Attorney General had this to say in a recent statement responding to the governor’s move to legalize sports betting:
“The agreements signed today between the governor, the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and the Comanche Nation are not authorized by the State Tribal Gaming Act, Title 3A, section 261 et. Sec. The governor has the authority to negotiate compacts with the tribes on behalf of the state. However, only the gaming activities authorized by the act may be the subject of a tribal gaming compact. Sports betting is not a prescribed covered game under the act.”
With this hurdle still in the way, it is sad to announce that betting on sports in Oklahoma is illegal. And, unfortunately, the state is so tough on gambling that it has hailed someone for engaging in illegal online betting! However, this doesn’t mean that sports betting enthusiasts in the state are completely out of options.
Offshore Online Sports Betting
Sports bettors in Oklahoma have turned to offshore gambling sites to bypass their state’s strict ban on the practice. This is not illegal, as there is no provision against it in the law.
Offshore sports betting in Oklahoma is basically online sports betting. It entails signing up with an online sports betting operator and betting online. Your chosen sportsbook will require you to provide certain details about yourself. Offshore sportsbooks licensed to operate in the U.S., but not necessarily in Oklahoma, usually ask for the following details:
- Your full names.
- Social Security Number.
- A working phone number and email address.
- Address to your current residence.
One of the benefits of betting through an offshore sportsbook is that there are few limitations into what you can bet on. International sportsbooks usually list sports and sporting events from all over the world. Sports categories commonly available on most sportsbooks include:
|Field & Track
|Mixed Martial Arts
It is also worth noting that many of these sportsbooks also cover American sports leagues. Popular leagues include the NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, NHL, and more.
One of the many downsides of betting through an offshore sportsbook, however, is that some are not trustworthy. States that have legalized sports betting have taken measures to protect their residents from unscrupulous online sportsbooks. Unfortunately, Oklahoma residents are not assured the same protection. As such, it is important to assess a sportsbook’s credibility before signing up.
We do not endorse anyone to gamble at an offshore operator and we recommend to refrain from online sports betting until Oklahoma becomes regulated and licensed for online sports betting.
Other Forms of Gambling in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has the biggest tribal gambling market in the country, as already mentioned. To this end, there are plenty of gambling options besides sports betting. These include:
There are 126 tribal casinos in Oklahoma, more than anywhere else in the country. These casinos offer both Class II and Class III casino games, which covers virtually every casino game available. To this end, the available gaming categories include slot machines (there are thousands of slot games), table games (blackjack, poker, roulette, baccarat, and more), keno, bingo, and more.
Surprisingly, lottery is one of the newest gambling options in the Sooner State. Lottery was legalized in 2004, and some of the permitted lottery games include Mega Millions, Hot Lotto, Cash 5, Powerball, Poker Pick, and Pick 3.
Betting on races has been legal in Oklahoma since the Oklahoma Horse Racing Act was passed in 1984. However, this law only permits bets on horse races, so dog and car races are off the table. Additionally, betting on races can only be done live – doing so via the phone is illegal! There are three venues where residents go to place bets on live races: Will Rogers Downs, Blue Ribbon Downs, and Remington Park.
Poker is one of the most popular casino games in Oklahoma (one of the most popular gambling activities, as a matter of fact), and there are more than 100 poker rooms in the Tribal Casinos. WinStar World Casino & Resort has the largest poker room with 46 tables, dozens of table games, and numerous lucrative tournaments!
Charitable gambling is considered a charity in Oklahoma, and it is allowed under the Oklahoma Charity Games Act. This Act allows certain groups and organizations to host gambling events for charity purposes only. Some of the covered organizations include churches, public and private schools, parent-teacher organizations, and student groups, among others.
You can be arrested for engaging in any form of illegal gambling activity in Oklahoma, but this is rare. However, it is advisable to avoid all forms of illegal gambling while in the state.
No, you will not be arrested for signing up with an off-shore sportsbook. The law doesn’t allow off-shore gambling sites to operate in Oklahoma, but it also doesn’t have any provisions against them.
It is not yet clear when sports betting will become legal in Oklahoma. However, this may be sooner than expected, considering that the governor and other powerful figures in government are strongly lobbying for it.