Legislature will explore sports gambling after SCOTUS ruling
In this March 15, 2018 photo, people watch coverage of the first round of the NCAA college basketball tournament at the Westgate Superbook sports book in Las Vegas. The Supreme Court has struck down a federal law that bars gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states, giving states the go-ahead to legalize betting on sports. (AP Photo/John Locher)
The United States Supreme Court issues a ruling Monday that could change the way people in Oklahoma and other states gamble on sports. From The Oklahoman’s Randy Ellis:
Oklahoma lawmakers will consider legalizing sports betting in Oklahoma following a Monday U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a federal law that had caused sports gambling to be banned in most states.
“If we do it, there’s going to be a lot of debate over whether or not this is the direction we need to go,” said House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City. “I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that this is something Oklahoma will do. But the foregone conclusion is that it is something Oklahoma will analyze.”
If the Oklahoma Legislature decides to legalize sports betting, it likely would be done through compacts negotiated with Oklahoma’s Indian tribes that operate tribal casinos, said state Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada.
Bill Lance, secretary of commerce for the Chickasaw Nation, said the Chickasaw Nation and “tribal nations around the country believe the Supreme Court’s decision on the case is a vital first step in creating a safe and well-regulated sports gaming market.”
“We look forward to working with the state of Oklahoma on a compacting supplement to address sports pool, which is something that could be easily implemented along the lines of what the Oklahoma Legislature made room for with respect to ‘ball and dice’ games this past session,” he said. “We believe such a step would be critical to protecting and enhancing the tribal gaming market that already provides substantial fiscal benefits to Oklahoma, the gaming tribes, and all Oklahomans.”
Lance said the American Gaming Association estimates that illegal sports gambling is a $1.6 billion industry annually in Oklahoma and $150 billion a year industry nationally.