Sports Betting Is Now Legal in the State of Oklahoma

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Since at least 1992, the majority of widespread sports betting in the United States that takes the form of a sportsbook has been conducted solely in the state of Nevada. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was passed by Congress in 1992. (PASPA). The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) acted similarly to an ice age, effectively freezing sports gambling schemes in the same state they were in in 1992 until the end of time or until the statute is repealed.

Although the statute largely went unchallenged for more than 15 years, Delaware Governor Jack Markell was sued in 2009 by the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball and four other major sports organizations after the Delaware lottery sought to expand their sports gambling offerings beyond parlay-style bets on National Football League (NFL) games. The lawsuit was filed because the Delaware lottery wanted to expand its sports betting offerings beyond parlay bets on National Football League (NFL) games. 

Markell’s efforts to generate revenue for the diamond state would fail after the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the sports leagues and the Supreme Court denied certiorari, leaving in place the interpretation that PASPA not only prohibits states that do not offer sports gambling from introducing new schemes but also prohibits states from changing the style of offerings from what existed in 1992. This is due to PASPA’s prohibition on states changing the style of offerings from what existed in 1992.¬†

A little less than five years later, the state of New Jersey sought a way to revitalize the casino industry in Atlantic City and considered legalizing sports betting as a possible solution. 5 Following that, the same sports league group filed a lawsuit against Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey at the time. More than five years after initial discussions about bringing sports betting to the Garden State, the Supreme Court ruled that PASPA’s control over the state legislative process violated the 10th Amendment. This decision was made following a series of unexpected twists and turns.

Justice Alito delivered a crushing blow to PASPA, resulting in the Act’s complete repeal

The court concluded that one of the most fundamental constitutional principles is the separation of powers between state and federal governments. Furthermore, the court stated that when Congress itself regulates, responsibility for the benefits and burdens of the regulation is obvious.

Responsibility, on the other hand, is muddied when a state only adopts restrictions because Congress orders it to do so.”The issue is that the federal government violated the anti-commandeering principle by issuing a direct command to the state of New Jersey prohibiting sports betting. Because there was no federal enforcement mechanism, the federal government issued a direct command to the state, shifting regulatory costs to the state.

When he suggested that Congress might not be able to prohibit sports gambling that does not cross state lines, Justice Thomas, writing in concurrence with Justice Alito’s majority opinion, may have hinted at a future regulatory battle. This is an issue that may arise as states seek to expand their brick-and-mortar sports betting offerings to include online wagering. The statement by Justice Thomas may have foreshadowed a future regulatory battle.¬†

The Murphy (formerly Christie) case has served as a conduit for other states to express their support for legalizing sports betting

Following the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari, West Virginia, along with 17 other states, including Oklahoma, and the governors of three additional states, filed an amicus brief in support of New Jersey’s position on the scope of federal power. Briefs in support of legalized gambling have coincided with a significant increase in popular support for legalized sports betting across the country.

This expansion has coincided with the proliferation of pro-gambling briefs. Even before the Supreme Court issued its decision, several state legislatures and stakeholders began to plan for the consequences of PASPA. These strategies assumed that the Supreme Court would rule in their favor, or that Congress would repeal the statute. If the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is overturned or repealed, 13 states, including West Virginia and Pennsylvania, have already passed sports betting legislation. 

Daily fantasy sports have emerged and grown in popularity in recent years, coinciding with increased interest in the legalization of expanded sports betting

Traditional fantasy sports, which typically take place throughout an entire sports season, are being replaced by daily fantasy sports. Instead, the time frame for daily fantasy sports is reduced to a single day or even a few hours. Daily fantasy sports are growing in popularity.

The contests also altered a key feature of many fantasy sports games, namely the fact that players frequently competed against their close circle of acquaintances. When playing daily fantasy games, players no longer needed friends to compete with; instead, they could compete against strangers from all over the world. During the 2015 NFL season, FanDuel and DraftKings, the two leaders of the daily fantasy sports industry, engaged in a prolific advertising campaign that made it nearly impossible to avoid being exposed to their brands. Even though daily fantasy sports appear to have some similarities with various forms of illegal gambling, this is not the case. 

Several legislators have expressed their concerns about the games and the similarities they share with illegal gambling. The state’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against the two largest businesses, but the parties were eventually able to reach an agreement that resolved the dispute and allowed the games to continue operating within the state.

Despite widespread acceptance of daily fantasy sports as a form of gambling and the repeal of PASPA, more obstacles to the widespread legalization of sports betting remain. Even in the absence of PASPA, other federal statutes, such as the Wire Act,19 the Illegal Gambling Businesses Act,20 the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act,21, and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,22 as well as several state statutes, continue to pose challenges for states seeking to legalize sports betting. 

The Desire for Sports Betting in Oklahoma 

However, even though legalizing sports betting would likely add more money to the state’s coffers, this is unlikely. Some lawmakers, including those in New Jersey, have suggested that sports betting could be a solution to the state’s fiscal problems.¬†

In 2018, the Oklahoma Legislature engaged in several preparatory activities in anticipation of a Supreme Court decision declaring PASPA unconstitutional. Proposals to legalize sports betting pools were introduced in both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate on February 5, 2018.

The Senate bill would have amended existing gaming compacts to state that the tribe “must not sell such new covered game unless and until doing so is legal under federal law.” The bill would have become law if the tribe had agreed to this condition.¬† House Bill 3375 included language that would have made it legal to pool bets on sporting events. This would have been accomplished by adding a new tribe compact to the existing ones.

The author of the House bill, Kevin Wallace, stated that the motivation for presenting the bill was not morality, but rather the desire to generate an additional source of revenue for the Legislature. Wallace was the first to introduce the bill in the House. 26 even though the quick passage was hoped for to position the state for the end of the federal prohibition, the language that would have legalized sports betting pools was removed from both the Senate bill and the House bill through amendments before the bills were voted on. 

Oklahoma had introduced bills to prepare for the end of restricted sports betting for the second year in a row, and it was the second year in a row that lawmakers failed to include the provision in bills that reached Gov. Fallin’s desk. Oklahoma introduced bills designed to prepare for the end of restricted sports betting for the second year in a row in 2018.¬†

The House plan would have taxed sports betting revenue at a rate of 10%, and the federal government already levies an excise tax equal to 0.25 percent of the total amount bet on sports (the handle). The Oklahoma House bill introduced in 2018, which advanced much further than the effort made in 2017, omitted a reference to how sports betting would be conducted at casinos and racinos located throughout the state, as well as whether expanding industry segments like mobile betting would be permitted. In 2018, more than 19 states proposed new legislation to legalize sports betting, with many of these bills including language drafted by professional sports leagues that would award the leagues a royalty based on the handle of league-specific games.

The disputed language was omitted from Oklahoma’s proposed legislation. One of the many questions that Oklahoma and every other state that wants to legalize sports gambling will have to answer is who gets what percentage of the revenue.

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Who Has the Right to Run Sports Gambling? 

The majority of the discussion in Oklahoma appears to be focused on improving previously established tribal compacts. One issue that has yet to be resolved is what percentage of revenue would be given to the state; in 2018, 10 percent was proposed. Because upcoming negotiations will almost certainly revolve around the novelty of sports betting, determining allocations will almost certainly be a guessing game. The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) has stated that they support legalizing sports wagering to carry out previously established compacts and agreements. 

One of the potential issues for tribal gaming is that sports betting is not covered by any of the existing compacts, and some have suggested that states could try to enter the market despite already having gaming agreements in place. 

The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) has stated that they support the expansion of sports betting, but only if a nine-point framework is met. Each state will face unique challenges when deciding whether or not to legalize sports betting. Tribal governments must be recognized as legitimate governments with the authority to regulate gambling.

Revenues generated by tribal governments from sports betting will not be taxed

Customers can access tribal government-run sports betting sites as long as sports betting is legal in the state or territory where the client resides. Existing tribal-state gaming compacts, as well as IGRA provisions protecting tribal rights, must be enforced. 

Allowing IGRA to be amended is not in anyone’s best interests. Any federal proposals to legalize sports betting must ensure that the legislation has a positive economic impact on tribal governments. Indian tribes have an inherent right to opt into a federal regulatory structure to gain broad market access, and this right must be respected.¬†

Tribal governments recognize that the integrity and safety of the game, as well as customer protection and the promotion of responsible gambling, are of the utmost importance. Any discussion about the playability of mobile, online, or internet games must follow the aforementioned guidelines. 

The fifth point, “the IGRA should not be opened up for amendments,” is still debatable and falls somewhat outside the purview of state politics; however, any efforts to re-open the IGRA would almost certainly be met with opposition from a wide range of groups both inside and outside of Washington. The final component of the NIGA framework, which addresses the extent to which mobile gaming becomes a reality, will almost certainly be the subject of a fight that begins the day after PASPA is repealed.¬†

Where Will Sports Betting Take Place? 

During Oklahoma’s 2018 legislative session, the majority of the discussion focused on expanding gambling options at the state’s approximately 60 casinos and racinos. However, numerous other states have expressed an interest in mobile betting options.¬†

Mobile betting has grown in popularity in Nevada over the last few years, and it has become one of the most common ways for daily fantasy players to interact with various platforms. The Wire Act38 remains one of the federal barriers, but Oklahoma also prohibits the “dissemination of gambling information… by means ofusing any communications facility, information to be used in making or settling bets.”Although the federal Wire Act may not have been violated in this case, the Oklahoma regulation poses a significant challenge to the state’s licensing of mobile gaming. This is especially true if wagering information is only available within legal areas, as it is in Nevada. 40¬†

Who Gets in on the Action? 

The question of what happens to money made from sports betting may be more difficult to answer than simply adding an addition to tribal compacts. As previously stated, the federal government is expected to receive. In 1984, the initial federal tax rate of 10% was reduced to 25% on all wagers.

However, this tax is in addition to state taxes on gross gaming revenue, leaving bookmakers with a limited profit margin while still offering competitive odds.  Professional sports leagues have been working hard to portray themselves as game owners and entities entitled to a portion of sportsbook revenue. This is in addition to the tax obligations they have with the state, federal, and tribal governments.  In contrast to the game broadcast, which is protected by copyright laws, the sports leagues are attempting to get legislation passed that will overturn decisions made by the Federal 2nd, 43rd, and 8th Circuit Courts of Appeals, which determined that sports scores and information already in the public domain are not subject to copyright laws (unlike the broadcast of the game, which is protected by copyright laws). Such information is protected by the First Amendment. 

Sports leagues have spent significant time and money lobbying to be included in the distribution of income from sports betting; however, their success has been limited in early drafts of legislation. Although it is highly unlikely that sports betting will generate tens of billions of dollars for state legislatures to redistribute, legalizing sports betting presents a potential opportunity for a variety of stakeholders to supplement existing gaming revenues, as well as tax and monitor a practice that is already widely practiced under the radar. 


In 1992, only a few states expressed an interest in offering sports betting, while the majority of states supported a moratorium on sports betting legalization. Since 1992, the widespread availability of the internet has aided the growth of the illegal online sports betting market that has since reached levels that lawmakers could not have anticipated when PASPA was passed.

As a result of the aforementioned knowledge and the never-ending search for new sources of revenue, policymakers in the post-PASPA world are considering the possibility of legalizing sports betting. According to Oxford Economics Group estimates, a sports wagering model in Oklahoma with limited availability and a high tax rate would generate more than 240 million dollars in gaming revenue annually and result in the creation of more than 3,100 direct and indirect jobs.

When state legislatures rush to pass sports betting legislation, some people may overlook the qualitative factors that are required to ensure a safe, healthy, and profitable gaming experience. The prospect of new tax revenue and jobs is appealing, but there is a risk that the focus on quantitative factors will cause some people to overlook qualitative factors. The prospect of increased tax revenue and job creation is appealing.

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