Oklahoma has a massive tribal gambling industry, which is estimated to generate over $3 billion in revenue on an annual basis.
The construction of the casinos was first approved by the legislators in 2003, and then by the voters in a 2004 referendum. Other forms of gambling that are legal in Oklahoma include pari-mutuel horse race betting (legalized in 1982), charitable bingo and raffles (1992), and lottery (2004).
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Oklahoma Gambling Law Summary
Oklahoma regulations define gambling as “betting or bargaining that, dependent upon chance, one stands to lose or win something of value specified in an agreement between parties.” This definition leaves some room for interpretation when it comes to skill-based games, but it is broad enough to apply to both land-based and online games of chance. Participating in unlawful gambling as a player is classified as a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $25-$100 fine and up to 30 days in county jail.
Gambling-related matters are covered by Oklahoma Statutes, Title 21 §941 et seq.: Gambling and Title 3A §200 et seq.: Horse Racing. The minimum gambling age is 18, although casinos that serve alcohol require their customers to be at least 21 years old.
Online Gambling in Oklahoma
According to Section 21 of Oklahoma statutes, participating in illegal gambling as a player is considered a misdemeanor. However, according to the local law, it could still land you in jail for up to 30 days. The penalties for hosting unlawful games are even more dreadful, but fortunately, the law doesn’t seem to apply to internet play. The local authorities refuse to go after offshore site customers, and no players have been brought to the court for placing bets online up as of the time of writing of this guide.
There are 60 tribal casinos in Oklahoma, which are operated by 33 out of 38 local federally recognized tribes. The largest properties are located in Thackerville (Winstar World Casino), Durant (Choctaw Casino Resort), Norman (Riverwind Casino), Wyandotte (Indigo Sky Casino and Hotel), Quapaw (Downstream Casino Resort), Shawnee (Grand Casino Hotel and Resort), Tulsa (River Spirit Casino), and Catoosa (Hard Rock Hotel and Casino). Many of these gambling establishments benefit from their proximity to Texas, which does not have a comparable casino industry.
Oklahoma casinos are not permitted to use dice and wheels, so games like roulette and craps are played with cards instead.
Oklahoma does not have a regulated online casino industry. The tribal casinos do not want to face any online competition, and their lobbying efforts have proven to be quite effective in the past, so the current status quo is not likely to be challenged anytime soon. As it stands, playing on offshore sites meets the definition of unlawful gambling and would likely be considered a misdemeanor.
There are fourteen poker rooms in Oklahoma. The following casinos operate the largest venues: Choctaw Casino Durant (Durant, 30 tables), Downstream Casino (Quapaw, 14 tables), Grand Casino Resort (Shawnee, 19 tables), Hard Rock Tulsa (Catoosa, 14 tables), River Spirit Casino (Tulsa, 15 tables), Riverwind Casino (Norman, 17 tables), and WinStar World Casino (Thackerville, 55 tables)
The available games range from No-Limit Hold ’em to Limit Omaha and mixed games. Tournaments are hosted daily, with the buy-ins ranging from $30 to $230.
Oklahoma does not have a regulated online poker market. One of the local tribes tried to launch an international online poker room back in 2012. Unfortunately, the company tasked with creating the new site failed to deliver on its promises, and the project was eventually mired in litigation with the US Department of the Interior.
Oklahoma Sports Betting
Legal betting action in Oklahoma is currently limited to horse race betting, which is available at the local racetracks: Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, and Fair Meadows in Tulsa. All of these facilities offer live betting and OTB on simulcast races. Also, Oklahoma residents can legally engage in betting over the internet via TwinSpires, which is the only online OTB platform with a license to operate in the Sooner State.
Oklahoma legislators had been interested in legalizing sports betting well before the US Supreme Court struck PASPA from the books. Both the House and the Senate started working on new sports betting legislation in February 2018, three months ahead of the expected ruling. The National Indian Gaming Association has already voiced its support for legalized betting, but all of the concerned parties need to negotiate the terms for supplementing the existing gaming compacts. The new bill is expected to be ready by 2020.
Oklahoma Daily Fantasy Sports
DFS bills designated HB 2278 and SB 1396 were introduced in Oklahoma’s House and Senate in 2016. Unfortunately, both proposals were dropped because of tribal interference. Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker reportedly commended the tribes involved in their efforts and stated that Oklahoma Native Americans would be fighting such legislation again in the future.
Despite this legal setback, major DFS companies continue to operate in Oklahoma based on the assumption that the contests they offer are skill-based, and thus, do not violate the local gambling laws. Oklahoma authorities have not attempted to block those companies from operating in their state, so it is generally assumed that using their services is legal.
Major DFS companies that accept players from Oklahoma include FanDuel, DraftKings, CBS Sports, and Yahoo DFS.
Oklahoma Lottery offers six draw games: Powerball, Mega Millions, Lucky for Life, Lotto America, Pick 3, and Cash 5. Also, the lottery sells scratchers with prices ranging from $1 to $10. The lottery is not authorized to sell its products over the internet, so all tickets and scratch-cards must be purchased from land-based retailers.
The local charities operate most bingo halls in Oklahoma, but some of the local casinos still offer bingo commercially. Unfortunately, Oklahoma residents do not have access to any state-sanctioned online bingo sites. Since the game is dependent upon chance, playing online bingo on offshore sites would most likely be classified as a misdemeanor.
Oklahoma Online Gambling FAQ
What types of gambling are available in OK?
Oklahoma is an excellent state for land-based gambling enthusiasts. The local tribal gambling establishments are allowed to offer all the typical casino games, including slots and video poker. The state has pari-mutuel horse race betting, and the racetracks tend to have a selection of casino-style offerings. If you want casual entertainment, Oklahoma also has a state-run lottery and bingo games. The only parts missing are the Oklahoma-regulated iGaming services, and regrettably, it doesn’t seem probable for the state to change anything in this regard in the foreseeable future
What laws cover online gambling in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma regulations, as listed in Section 21 of the Oklahoma code, are very specific when it comes to land-based gambling, but iGaming is an entirely different story. None of the Oklahoma laws refer specifically to playing real money games online, which means that this part of the gambling industry isn’t regulated at all.
Is real money online gambling legal in Oklahoma?
Since none of the Oklahoma laws mention placing bets via offshore poker sites, casinos, or sportsbooks, even the most die-hard anti-gambling activist would be left with no choice but to conclude that online gambling is 100% legal within the borders of Oklahoma.
Which offshore gambling sites accept Oklahoma residents?
Oklahoma is not openly hostile to online gambling, so most US-facing sites don’t have any rules that’d prevent them from accepting Oklahoma-based customers.
What are the most popular banking options supported by Oklahoma -facing sites?
Most offshore gambling sites don’t support all that many banking methods, so in most cases, you should be okay with Visa/MasterCard as long as your card isn’t intended exclusively for domestic use. Please note that if you use this option to make a deposit, you’ll usually be required to withdraw via a bank wire transfer or check.
Does Oklahoma offer any intrastate online gambling?
The obvious downside of having no iGaming regulations whatsoever is the lack of legitimate gambling sites operating on the fenced intrastate market.
Is it likely for Oklahoma to regulate online gambling?
No. As mentioned above, Oklahoma isn’t interested in opening its intrastate internet gambling market, which shouldn’t be all that surprising since most gambling-related businesses are pretty much content with the current situation.