Oklahoma Must Wait Until at Least 2023 for Legal Online Sports Betting

Oklahoma Must Wait Until at Least 2023 for Legal Online Sports Betting

Well, it's basically official: Oklahoma will not be legalizing sports betting before the end of 2022. On the bright side, many are optimistic that could change in time for 2023. On the not-so-bright side, others are skeptical whether the state will ever make the leap into legal online sports betting. What should we expect from this latest development in Oklahoma? Let's find out.

Proponents of gambling in the Sooner State might want to sit down. We have some bad news for you: Oklahoma must wait until at least 2023 for legal online sports betting to take effect.

Potentially worse still, there are no assurances legal online sports betting in Oklahoma will be implemented even after this year. The state remains incredibly divided on the issue, and it doesn't appear to be a priority talking point among the local government. All of which explains how we got here in the first place, with a subset of Oklahoma officials getting the framework of a pro-sports-betting bill passed through, only to see it then shot down at the higher-up levels. 

House of Reps Won't Even Listen to Oklahoma Sports Betting Bill

As we've outlined previously, when looking at the potential for legalization of the 2022 Oklahoma sports betting billthe primary backers of the proposal, known as HB3008, were skeptical they could get the measure to pass through the House of Representatives despite plenty of support at the more levels. Those sentiments were clearly ominous at the time, and the fears have now been actualized.

According to Gaming Today, the House of Representatives now isn't even supposed to hear arguments for, let alone vote on, the future of HB3008. What's more, nobody in favor of the measure seems to think there's a chance this changes.

Representative Ken Luttrell, a Republican from Ponca City who has been among the biggest gambling advocates in the state, recently came out and basically said the entire bill is dead where it stands. From reading in between the lines, it isn't a stretch to say that he—and everyone else involved—would be genuinely shocked if the House of Reps becomes more open to discussing the matter.

Why is Oklahoma Against Legal Sports Betting?

Many have a tough time understanding Oklahoma's anti-gambling stance—now more so than ever. There is legal sports betting throughout the USA in more than half of the states, and a handful of others, like California, appear on the verge of joining the fold. Many linemakers who crack our reviews of the top online sportsbooks have also reported an uptick in business from the contiguous U.S. over the past couple of years. The decision to hold off on the legalization of sports betting very much puts Oklahoma in the shrinking minority.

It also isn't entirely clear what's driving the holdout. It could be motivated by religious or morality politics—or both. We don't know for sure because those not in favor of legalizing sports betting in Oklahoma have been mostly mum.

Most seem to believe state officials simply think there are more pressing matters that need tending. Oklahoma's economy has been reeling since the coronavirus pandemic began running rampant at the start of 2020. Creating jobs and stabilizing the state's core industries took up a bulk of the focus and voting during the House of Representatives' annual meeting this year.

How Sports Betting Can Help Oklahoma's Economy

Ironically enough, though, actually addressing the sports betting issue can help solve some of the economical problems Oklahoma is currently facing.

States levy taxes on all sportsbooks that obtain licenses within their region. While the rates can vary, 10 percent and above has been pretty standard depending on the market. Some have argued that Oklahoma doesn't have the professional sports franchises necessary to drum up a ton of betting business. Perhaps that's true. But the state is home to powerhouse college football and basketball programs. Residents will have plenty of reason to dabble in sports betting if there isn't a restriction placed upon collegiate events.

In fact, at the start of 2022, experts projected that the first year of legal sports betting in Oklahoma should generate up to $240 million in additional revenue. So, yes, we're talking about nine figures' worth of reasons for Oklahoma to get with times.

For all the skeptics out there, these projections aren't random. They are based upon cyber security tracking data that shows how many attempts were made within the state of Oklahoma to place wagers at an international sportsbooks or through a legalized domestic sportsbook.

When will Oklahoma Get Legal Sports Betting?

This is yet another question without an answer. Those in the know don't seem to think anything will change in Oklahoma before 2023. That's when the House of Representatives will have their next annual meeting, so that timeline makes sense.

On the other hand, things can shift on a moment's notice. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt could theoretically call a special impromptu session on the issue, forcing it back to the forefront and inciting a more immediate resolution. And as a known proponent of the revenue sports betting could generate for the state, that certainly seems like it could be on the table.

However, Stitt needs to first make sure there's enough support within the local government for him to elevate the topic to such an urgent level. And so far, it's clear Oklahoma isn't there yet. Residents are better off hoping they change their tune in time for 2023 rather than at any point this year.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can see which one will work best for all of your online sports betting needs: