Gaming Laws in Oklahoma
Oklahoma signed its first compact with its many Native American tribes in 1992. Five years prior to this, the Choctaw tribe had begun hosting high stakes bingo games on their own. The compact signed by the state of Oklahoma and its tribes allowed for casinos across the state to offer Class II gaming and parimutuel horse racing betting.
Class II gaming is limited to only bingo and lottery types of games. In 2004, State Question 712 was posed to Oklahoma residents on the ballot asking if they would like to see the state approve Class III gaming at these tribal casinos. With nearly 60% of the vote, this law was passed, and Vegas-style casino gaming was legalized throughout the state.
Placing bets outside of these casinos is illegal by Oklahoma law. While some states have specific laws against bookmakers but not bettors, Oklahoma State statutes make placing a bet in Oklahoma a misdemeanor. A conviction of this crime carries with it a fine of up to $100 and a jail sentence of up to one month. Sports gambling is not explicitly stated under this section of the law (21-942) while card and dice games are.
Sports Betting in Oklahoma
There are currently no legal sports betting options for residents of the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma has some of the harshest laws against bookmakers in the country. Bookmaking falls under “Commercial Gambling” in Oklahoma's laws, and comes with a potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Such strict penalties against bookmaking does plenty to discourage the practice across the state.
A “bet” in Oklahoma is defined as “a bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon chance ... one stands to win or lose something of value specified in the agreement.” It would stand to reason that this would include sports betting, but sports betting is not specifically mentioned anywhere in Oklahoma's gaming laws. Online gambling is also not mentioned.
Oklahoma's harsh laws against bookmaking do not apply to offshore sportsbooks that are well outside of the state's jurisdiction. No resident of Oklahoma has ever been arrested or charged with a crime for betting on sports online. With no specific mention of sports or internet gaming and no history of going after sports bettors, Oklahoma seems to be a relatively safe place to wager on sports online.
Poker and Casino in Oklahoma
One thing there is no shortage of in the state of Oklahoma is casino gaming. With over 70 tribal casinos spanning across the state, Oklahoma offers more Native American casino options than any other state in the country. These casinos offer anything from slot machine gaming and table games to poker and high stakes bingo.
With so many casinos spread out across Oklahoma, there are also plenty of poker rooms available to poker players. Most notably, the Choctaw Casino Durant and the Winstar World Casino both have 30 or more poker tables and feature great tournament events year-round.
While there is some ambiguity to Oklahoma's gambling laws in regards to sports betting, there isn't any when it comes to poker being illegal outside of tribal casinos. If caught playing in card games, people in Oklahoma can be fined up to $100 or be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail.
This law is not commonly enforced but bettors should still be aware of it before deciding whether or not to play online poker at an offshore poker room. Because these poker rooms are located in other countries, they are not subject to Oklahoma's laws against running a card game.
Other Gaming Options in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has three active horse racing tracks with the Fair Meadows Race Track in Tulsa, Remington Park in Oklahoma City and Will Rogers Downs in Claremore. Horse racing fans can bet on live racing and simulcast racing at these three locations, and can also bet on simulcast racing all over the state at many of its tribal casinos.
The Oklahoma Lottery began in 2005 after being passed into law in 2004. It features scratch-off tickets that can be purchased statewide, in-state drawings and multi-state drawings such as Hot Lotto, Powerball and Mega Millions. Hot Lotto is played across 14 states.