STILLWATER -- You can still go to Las Vegas and bet on the Oklahoma State Cowboys if you want, but have you ever noticed that when in Vegas there is no wagering on UNLV? Oklahoma State fans may have perked up on Tuesday, April 21 at noon when Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt held a press conference along with tribal leaders and attorneys for the Otoe-Missouria and the Comanche Nation. The press conference was to announce new gaming pacts with those two tribes and included in those pacts is new language allowing for and making rules to sports betting, which has been given back to the states by the Federal government. However, bettors won't be able to wager on Oklahoma State or any other school in Oklahoma.
Up until now there has been no sports betting permission given by the State of Oklahoma. Gov. Stitt has been in conflict with the various tribes, believing that compacts were up and the state was in position to negotiate for a better percentage of the profits from the Tribal owned and run casinos. These two compacts signed April 21 with the Otoe-Missouria and Comanche Nation tribes reflect that. The state is getting a better deal than the four-to-six percent that it was receiving previously and these two tribes are getting an expanded wagering play list that includes sports betting.
It does not allow for betting on Oklahoma State or any other college teams in the state of Oklahoma. It also does not allow wagering on any college sports events being staged in Oklahoma, such as neutral site NCAA events like a basketball regional or the Women's College World Series softball championship.
Here is the language from the compact with the two tribes signed at the state capitol on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 that pertains to sports (event) wagering.
“Event Wagering” means the placing of a wager on the outcome of a Sport event, including E-Sports, or any other events, to the extent such wagers are authorized by law, subject to the following terms and conditions:
a. Type. Event Wagering shall not include either wagering on intercollegiate Sports for schools located in the State or intercollegiate Sports events occurring within the State.
b. Reservation of State Licenses. At some future time, the State may license up to five (5) non-tribal Event Wagering locations, with the same requirements as those under this Compact; provided, however, that the Tribe’s right to engage in Event Wagering shall in no way be subject to the State’s conduct of Event Wagering. For the avoidance of doubt, even if it should be found that the State’s conduct of Event Wagering is in violation of the State’s obligations, if any, under compacts with other Oklahoma tribes, such a finding shall have no effect on the Tribe’s right to engage in Event Wagering.
“These new gaming compacts are in the best interest of the State, members of the Otoe-Missouria tribe and Comanche Nation and the local communities where these tribes reside and operate," Stitt said in a statement. "The new compacts recognize the sovereign rights of individual tribes to conduct gaming in Oklahoma. The compacts take a sound approach to assessing the value of substantial exclusivity in a modernized tribal gaming industry, and importantly, the compacts expand opportunity for both the compacting tribes and the State to compete in future gaming markets."
A representative of a trade group that promotes tribal gaming and assists all tribes involved in Oklahoma came out with a negative statement on the compacts citing that Gov. Stitt overstepped his authority.
“We respect the sovereignty of each Tribe to take what actions it believes it must on behalf of its citizens," Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Chairman Matthew Morgan said in a statement after the news conference Tuesday. "All the same, Governor Stitt does not have the authority to do what he claims to have done today. Without the engagement of the Oklahoma Legislature, he has entered agreements based on a claim of unilateral State authority to legalize sportsbook, to revamp the Oklahoma Lottery, and to authorize new gaming facilities in Norman and Stillwater, among other places. That’s simply not the law.
Somebody will figure out the law and probably before the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and the casinos are re-opened.
The Otoe-Missouria Tribe has major operations like 7 Clans Paradise Casino in Red Rock and 7 Clans First Council Casino and Hotel in Newkirk. The Comanche Nation's biggest operation in the Comanche National Casino in Lawton.
Other major tribes that operate casinos in Oklahoma include: Cherokee (Hard Rock-Tulsa), Choctaw (Choctaw Casino Resort-Durant), Chickasaw (Artesian - Sulphur, Newcastle Casino-Newcastle, Riverwind Casino-Norman, Treasure Valley-Davis, WinStar World- Thackerville), Citizen Potawatomi Nation (Firelake and Grand Casinos-Shawnee), Iowa (Cimarron-Perkins and Ioway-Chandler), Kaw (Southwind Casino-Braaman and Newkirk), Modoc Tribe (The Stables-Miami), Muscogee (River Spirit Casino-Tulsa), Pawnee (Stonewolf Casino-Pawnee), Peoria (Buffalo Run-Miami), Quawpaw (Downstream Hotel, Resort, and Casino-Quawpaw), Sac and Fox (Blackhawk Casino), Semeca-Cayuga (Grand Lake Casino-Grove), Osage (Osage Hotel and Casino-Tulsa).
Some tribes had sued Stitt on Dec. 31, asking a federal judge to rule that their gaming compacts automatically renewed Jan. 1. Stitt believes that they expired at that time. The judge has ordered mediation in the case.
Those tribes involved in the lawsuit include Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee and others as well.