Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Drooling over more tax revenue, House passes bill to legalize sports betting

As I've said before (sarcastically, of course)... if there's just one thing Oklahoma needs more of, it's gambling. 🙄

House Approves Sports Betting

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 21st) – The Oklahoma House of Representatives gave the stamp of approval Tuesday to legislation to legalize sports betting and potentially bring in over $9 million a year to the state budget.

Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City, filed House Bill 1027, which adds in-person and mobile sports betting as a supplement to the state-tribal model gaming compact. The state would receive a percentage of gaming revenue.

"Right now, Oklahoma is missing out on a huge financial opportunity for both our state and our tribes," Luttrell said. "Oklahomans are traveling across state lines to participate in sports betting, and we're losing those dollars. It makes economic sense to provide sports betting as an option."

If passed, tribes implementing sports betting would pay the state a 4% fee for the first $5 million dollars made in one month, a 5% fee on the next $5 million and a 6% fee for additional monies. The sliding fee system would restart each month.

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) estimated sports betting could bring in up to $9,350,000 a year, of 12% would enter the general revenue fund and 88% would go toward education.

In his debate in favor of the measure, Luttrell quoted Kentucky state Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Oakland, the author of Kentucky's current sports betting bill, who said, "Revenue is not the reason I think this is good policy. I think it’s good policy because we’re taking something out of the illegal, unregulated space and creating a regulated marketplace."

Luttrell filed similar legislation in 2022, House Bill 3008, which was approved by the House Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee on General Government but was ultimately not heard by the full House A&B Committee.

HB1027 passed the House 66-26 with its title off, meaning it will return to the House for another vote after being approved by the Senate. Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, is the Senate author of the bill.

Luttrell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, previously served as co-chair of the House Native American Caucus and serves on the Executive Committee of the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators.

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