Sports Betting Bills Discussed in Oklahoma, Hawai'i and Missouri; Will They Pass?
As more bills are introduced in state governments across the country, one topic that is expected to be discussed is sports betting.
Bills that would expand state’s gambling laws to include sports betting have already been brought forward. Here’s a rundown of what’s currently happening on the sports betting front in Oklahoma, Hawai'i and Missouri.
Oklahoma Introduces Sports Betting Bills
Oklahoma previously had momentum in bringing a sports betting market to the state in 2020. The Comanche Nation and Otoe Missouria tribes negotiated gaming compacts with Gov. Kevin Stitt. However, the State Supreme Court blocked the agreement, saying it was not permitted because the legislature has yet to legalize sports wagering.
This month, state Rep. Ken Luttrell filed House Bill 3008, which would bring in-person sports betting to the state’s tribal gaming compact. The bill says the state would get a 10% cut of the net winnings.
In a news release announcing his bill, Luttrell said the consulting firm Oxford Economics Group estimates that sports betting in Oklahoma would produce $240 million in revenue and create over 3,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“This legislation just makes sense,” Luttrell said in the media release.
Luttrell also noted how Oklahoma’s neighbors already have legalized some form of sports betting. New Mexico are currently taking retail bets,Arkansas sports betting is also available in the form of retail sportsbooks and is expected to come online soon. While Colorado has in-person sportsbooks and a mobile sports betting market. Nearby Louisiana brands are also live, Caesars Sportsbook Louisiana being one of the top picks.
"Illegal sports betting occurs throughout Oklahoma, and figures I obtained from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) show 11 offenses recently with tens of thousands of dollars seized," Luttrell said in the media release. "This reflects only a fraction of what actually occurs in our state.”
Oklahoma’s legislature convenes on Feb. 7.
Hawai'i remains one of the few states without any form of legal gambling. But that could be changing in 2022, with multiple gambling bills set to be introduced.
In 2021, Hawai'i Rep. Chris Toshiro Todd proposed House Bill 736. The bill would allow five Hawaiian businesses to receive online sports betting licenses. Despite the bill not passing in 2021, it was carried over to the 2022 sessions.
Multiple other gambling bills in Hawai'i were also carried over to 2022, including SB 816, which would establish a state lottery; SB 1321 would allow the construction of a casino in Waikiki; HB 383 would regulate live poker rooms; and HB 772 would permit the building of a casino in Oahu.
HB 1815 was also introduced on Friday. It would “authorize to offer a regulated, secure and responsible framework for the conduct of sports wagering in Hawai'i that will provide consumer protections and capture additional revenues for the benefit of the state.”
The bill also states the legislature has found that thousands of residents are estimated to partake in illegal sports gambling on unregulated websites. It also says tens of millions of dollars in revenue is generated from online gambling for the offshore websites with no benefit provided to the state.
The introduction of these bills is a good start for expanded gambling in Hawai'i, but the bills still have a long way to go before they pass. More states legalizing forms of gambling in recent years should help with the negative stigma around gambling. However, it will still take a lot of convincing for state lawmakers to change their traditional stances against it. Previous gambling bills have failed to generate much traction in Hawai'i.
Missouri Trying Again
In Missouri, 2022 will be the fifth straight year lawmakers will attempt to legalize sports betting in the state.
Missouri Rep. Jim Murphy pre-filed HB 2144 this month. It is the eighth bill on sports betting on deck for the upcoming legislative session.
There are at least three bills in consideration for the session that will end on May 20.
Sen. Denny Hoskins is a Republican who represents the central and western regions of the state and has told local media about his intentions to introduce sports wagering to the state.
“I wish it was just as simple as, ‘Hey, if you want to bet on sports, then you just bet on sports,’” Hoskins said in an interview with St. Louis television station KSDK. “Obviously, when you look at the big picture, that’s what we’re trying to do, but a lot of the devil is in the details.”
Numerous sports betting bills being introduced in Missouri is no surprise. But getting any momentum to pass them has been a challenge. Hoskins’ SB 18, along with SB 217 and SB 256, all failed in 2021. Missouri’s neighbors have already launched sports betting; Iowa, Illinois and Tennessee are live with their online sportsbooks.
Hoskins estimates $20 million in revenue would be generated for the state from a legalized sports betting market in Missouri. The funds would go to education funding and veterans’ homes.
“Some of the issues that we’ve had in the past as far as royalty fees and tax rate and things like that we’ve been working on with many of the stakeholders involved,” Hoskins told KSDK.
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