Three More States Join Wagering Market, Oklahoma Takes a Step Back

Now that three more states have legalised sports betting, sportsbooks will be soon available in more than half of the US states. The market is rapidly expanding following the revoke of the PASPA law, which granted US states the authority to decide on the regulation of wagering. The topic is gaining momentum in Oklahoma and experts are divided on whether the activity will be legalised in The Sooner State as well.

On November 3, the states of Louisiana, Maryland and South Dakota joined the market of regulated sports betting. The next step for the three states before launching sportsbooks is to craft the bills that will set the rules and regulations for each market. Moreover, Nebraska is one step closer to legalising sports wagering in the state, following the recent approval of casino gaming.

The American sports betting landscape has been flourishing in recent years after the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), which outlawed sports betting nationwide, excluding a few states. The door to legal sports betting is now open in the US and the legislative decisions are up to individual states.

Since the PASPA was removed, 19 states and the District of Columbia have taken advantage of the new rules and have launched legal sportsbooks. North Carolina, Virginia and Washington have passed the legislation, but have not started offering sports betting to the public yet. When Louisiana, Maryland and South Dakota are ready with the bills that regulate sports betting, more than half of the states in the US will offer this activity to players.

Oklahoma Sports Betting Still Unlikely

Although Oklahoma has discussed the issue multiple times, sports betting is still far from being legalised. In October, Governor Kevin Stitt announced he will not appeal a federal court ruling to automatically renew tribal gaming compacts for 15 years at the beginning of the year. Previously, he said he wanted tribes to pay higher fees so that more funds enter the state.

Now that compacts are almost renewed, legalised sports betting stands out as a potential source of revenue for both the state and tribes amid the economic instability caused by Covid-19.

“There’s no clock ticking on when this needs to get done.”

Matthew Morgan, Chairman, Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association

According to Matthew Morgan, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, there is no urgency in tackling the issue and the priority was to strengthen the relation between the tribes and Stitt following the compact renewal dispute.

Stitt had given green light to “event wagering” in the new compacts he negotiated with the two small tribes Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Comanche Nation earlier this year. However, the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected the deal on a later stage claiming that Stitt did not have the sole authority to negotiate compacts. According to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, any changes in the regulation of sports betting would require intervention by the Oklahoma Legislature to amend state law.

Although it is taking more time than in other states, the topic is gaining popularity in Oklahoma and it is a matter of time for sports betting to arrive in the state.

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