A bill to legalize sports betting in Oklahoma has just been filed. It will be read for the first time on the first day, February 6, 2023.
Tiered Fee Structure
House Bill HB1027, filed by Rep. Ken Luttrell, was scheduled to be read on the first day in the new legislative session. This shows that Gov. Kevin Stitt was serious when it became clear that his administration was looking into sports betting.
The bill would establish a tiered fee structure that would allow tribes to pay a higher percentage if their revenue is greater: 4% for the first $5,000,000, 5% for the next $5,000,000, and 6% for all other income over a calendar year. This proposal looks very similar to the exclusivity payments made to tribes under model gaming compacts, argued local radio and news media KOSU.
The Muscogee Nation is one of the tribes that believes the bill needs to be improved. Jason Salsman, the spokesperson for the tribe, said that while the bill is not working right now because of the language in the proposal, it can be used as a foundation.
Diverse Tribal Interests
Matt Morgan, chair of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Commission (OIGA), believes that agreement on the details will be crucial to whether or not the tribes support the bill. There are 39 Oklahoma tribes and each tribe has a different level of interest in betting sports.
While it is clear that the bill sponsor sought advice from experts in sports betting, Morgan says he didn’t consult OIGA. There are many questions Morgan has to answer and Morgan shares his plans to bring Luttrell into the conversation.
It’s not clear if this will be a hit with the tribes that are most interested. I’m curious if this is his idea or this legislative leadership’s. It would be interesting to know the answer, although I don’t have any idea.
Matt Morgan, chair, OIGA
The OIGA chair insists that you need to keep in mind that not all things are legal under the current model gaming compact.
These stakeholders are implicated in this…I want it to be crystal clear: The state of Oklahoma, which includes the governor and legislature, and the tribes are all involved. Anything beyond these three stakeholders could lead to a breach of our existing gaming compact.
Matt Morgan, chair, OIGA
The compact was signed between the states and tribes to generate additional revenue. It was originally signed in 2004. Stitt refused. The compact was renewed after the tribes won the legal battle.
After his February 2022 failed attempt, Luttrell tried again to pass HB1027.