Is Playing Online Poker Legal in Oklahoma?
Last updated: May 18, 2020 – Online poker is still facing pushback from tribal casinos in Oklahoma but there’s been an interesting development in sports betting. In April 2020 Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is trying to get sports betting online at two tribal casinos, but now the pushback comes from the state Attorney General Mike Hunter.
Hunter says the governor has authority to negotiate with the casinos on behalf of the state, he says it only applies to games already covered in the act. Sports betting is not covered under current compacts. The proposed compact allows the two casinos to offer sports betting, but it would later expand to five non-tribal locations later on.
Compact negotiations have been a source of tension between the state and tribes the last few years. But if there’s a breakthrough ini sports betting, there’s a chance that online poker could be next.
Online Poker and Gambling Laws in Oklahoma
Oklahoma offers a lot of legal gambling. They have tribal casinos, charitable gaming and pari-mutuel betting. These are a lot more offerings than a lot of states in the region, but new forms of gaming are tied to gaming compacts with tribal casinos.
The building block of any form of gambling is a bet.
The Oklahoma State Statute 21-981 defines “bet” as a bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon chance, or in which one of the parties to the transaction has valid reason to believe that it is dependent upon chance, one stands to win or lose something of value specified in the agreement.
This definition focuses on chance. This is a term a lot of states use to define bets and gambling. It’s key when it comes to poker, because it’s been ruled to be a game of skill by a federal judge. The 2012 ruling is what opened the doors for states like Nevada and New Jersey to start online poker regulation.
This inclusion of the word “chance” gives states an easier path to legalization since poker is mostly determined to be a game of skill. That would exempt it from state statutes, one could argue.
Can I play poker on PokerStars in Oklahoma?
There’s no PokerStars in Oklahoma yet. When states legislate and regulate online poker, they usually choose which companies can come in and operate. Out of the states that have legalized online poker as of 2020, only two have licenses to PokerStars. So far, only New Jersey and Pennsylvania have a PokerStars site, and both of them only have players from each state.
That means it doesn’t offer the large-field tournaments and extensive table selection that it used to before Black Friday. There are other states that still accept players from all 50 states though and are good alternatives to PokerStars in Oklahoma. So if you’re looking for online poker sites that take players from Oklahoma, you have options. We’ve reviewed sites like Ignition Poker and Black Chip Poker that are good PokerStars alternatives.
If you want to learn more about these and more of our recommendations, check out our reviews below:
Legal Gambling in Oklahoma
There are a few options for gamblers in Oklahoma. The biggest option is tribal casinos. There are several tribes and tribal casinos throughout the state of Oklahoma. The state also offers race tracks, lottery and charitable gaming.
Indian Tribe Casinos
In 1987, the Supreme Court in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians confirmed the authority of tribal governments to establish casinos. These casinos would be independent from state regulation.
Over the years, there has been a large expansion of tribal gaming around the state. In total, more than 30 tribes own nearly 150 different gaming facilities across the state. These include casinos, gaming centers, smoke shops with gambling and travel plazas with slot machines. In 2018, tribal casinos generated $2.3 billion in revenue. They also paid the state $138.6 million in exclusivity fees.
Race Tracks and Pari-Mutuel Betting
Oklahoma was one of the last states to legalize pari-mutuel betting. They legalized it in 1982 and then they opened their first race track, Blue Ribbon Downs, two years later. Horse tracks kept popping up until 1989. Horse racing was incredibly popular in Oklahoma before it was legalized in Texas and before the casinos started pulling away business.
There are still three race tracks in Oklahoma. The Remington Park, Will Rogers Downs and Fair Meadows Tulsa are still up-and-running.
Lottery and Charitable Gaming
In 2003 the House and the Senate legalized state-operated lottery sales. Seven people were selected by the governor to be on the Oklahoma Lottery Commission to implement, run, and oversee the state lottery. The passing of the bill also included non-profit and educational organizations the allowance to run raffle ticket fundraisers which was previously illegal to do. Oklahoma also offers charitable gaming. The measure was passed in 1992 and lets people run low-stakes bingo games.
Specific State-by-State Laws
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