July 12, 2017
By Zach Rael
OKLAHOMA CITY — Sports betting in Oklahoma could soon be bringing in money.
In almost every single state, including Oklahoma, it’s illegal to bet on sports, but an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case could overturn a 25-year-old law.
“If sports betting were to be legalized across the country, and specifically in Oklahoma, it could unleash millions and millions of dollars for local economies,” said Steve Doty, with the American Gaming Association.
Doty estimates sports betting could generate as much as $600 million.
State Rep. Jon Echols introduced a bill this past legislative session allowing Las Vegas-style gaming in Oklahoma. It would have opened the door for sports betting in the state.
“It’s occurring right now in almost every office in America,” Echols said. “It would make more sense to do it in a regulated, secure, safe fashion that then would generate revenue for the state without a tax increase.”
Echols’ bill would have allowed Gov. Mary Fallin to start the process for sports betting if the Supreme Court ruled the ban unconstitutional. The bill would still face an uphill battle with religious and conservative lawmakers continuing to strongly oppose gaming legislation.
The Supreme Court will hear the sports-betting case in the fall.