Oklahoma is one of the few states that has chosen to closely regulate all forms of gambling. Though there are not hundreds of rules concerning gambling within the state, the Oklahoma gambling laws that do exist are quite definitive. It is important to have general knowledge of the gambling regulations in OK to decrease the likelihood of ever running into any legal issues when betting. Having a grasp of the law is useful when you want to legally bet with an online sportsbook, join an online poker room, or play at an online casino.
Reading our helpful guide on to gambling laws in Oklahoma will give you the foundation you need to understand how gambling is regulated within the state. We will cover the main state gaming laws, as well as the federal gambling laws that affect all US citizens. These interpretations will be based on both online and land-based betting scenarios. Continue reading to learn about all of the Oklahoma gambling statutes that are relevant to all types of bettors.
Being that Oklahoma is a state that offers several types of gambling, from the lottery to casinos to horse betting, it is no surprise that there are a number of laws that govern each particular category. Rather than list all of the by-laws that can be found within the Oklahoma Statutes, we have compiled the most significant rules related to gaming regulation. The majority of the statutes can be found in Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
21 OK Stat. 21–941 - This law essentially states that outside of gaming activities approved through the Oklahoma Charity Games Act, playing any poker, roulette, craps, dice, or card game is illegal within the state. It includes both those who conduct or host the event, and those that deal at the game. The law does not specifically mention sports betting or online gambling of any kind, meaning that it most closely relates to casino and poker room operations within the state.
21 OK Stat. 21 – 942 - Though there is no specific law against social gambling, this statute does imply that betting casually with friends is not permitted. 21 OK Stat. 21 – 942 reads that any individual who plays unlawful games in exchange for money, property, or the like is guilty of a misdemeanor offense. You will note that the law mentions all games of chance fall under the statute, which some could argue that games such as poker rely heavily on skill.
21 OK Stat. 21- 987 - The statute makes it illegal to disseminate gambling information, including sending or receiving bets. This is the law that could possibly be interpreted to include online gaming activities because it applies to all forms of communication. Breaking the law is a felony offense and can also include a fine of up to $25,000. While it is questionable as to if the statute makes the use of offshore online gambling sites illegal, it does without a doubt prohibit making bets in Oklahoma outside of authorized venues.
Oklahoma’s State-Tribal Gaming Act - The Act permits all federally recognized Indian tribes to operate electronic bingo and amusement games, and also non-house banked card games. The compact is an extension of a federal law (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) that mandates the ability of tribal entities to operate casinos within the state. The State-Tribal Act helps to further regulate the laws that permit Class II and Class III tribal casinos in Oklahoma.
While we have provided the core details of each of the pertinent state gambling laws in OK, much of the law is subject to individual interpretation and understanding. For this reason, we encourage readers to view the full legal version of the statutes we covered in order to form independent opinions. The information that we disclosed should give you a foundation to go off of and offer help in deciphering the formal citing of the law.
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Fortunately, there are only a handful of federal laws affecting gambling and online gambling in Oklahoma. The three most important laws are the Wire Act, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act (UIGEA). Though these are federal laws, there are slight differences in how they have impacted each state. Our brief explanations below will explain how they have each influenced Oklahoma gaming regulation.
18 U.S.C. 50-1084 The Wire Act – The Wire Act was one of the first federal laws that attempted to regulate betting on sports. The act was created in 1961 as a way to prevent and put an end to the illegal sports gambling operations that were being led by the crime underworld. The law prohibits gambling businesses from transmitting and collecting bets related to sporting events by way of wire communication. During this time period, the law was appropriate as it prohibited interstate wagering and assisted individual states in prosecuting the crime leaders that were profiting the most from sports betting. In today’s day in age, there have been attempts to apply the law to all forms of internet gambling though the efforts have been unsuccessful. The act only applies to internet gambling operators in the United States that are attempting to receive sports wagers.
31 U.S.C. 5361-5366 The Unlawful Internet Gambling Act – The UIGEA is what leads many potential bettors in OK to assume that online gambling is illegal. The title of the act is quite misleading, as the only practice it makes illegal is accepting payments related to internet gambling. In 2006, the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board enacted a law that deems it illegal for gambling operators to collect payments that are associated with placing bets on the internet. Financial institutions that operate automated clearing house (ACH), card (credit and debit), check, money transmission, and wire transfer systems must also have policies that prevent the transactions from being processed. This affects you as a bettor by making it more difficult for credit card deposits to be approved at online gambling sites. The upside here is that the best online gaming sites that accept OK residents will have alternative payment options available.
28 U.S.C. 178-3701 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act – The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is the law that is responsible for the absence of land-based sportsbooks in Oklahoma. Enacted in 1992, PASPA makes it illegal for states to issue new sports betting licenses and/or establish sports betting operations. The only exceptions to the rule are Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon, and that is due to their history of legal sports betting schemes prior to the enforcement of the law. What this means for you is that the only states to enjoy legal land-based sports wagering are NV and DE- MT and OR are federally authorized to conduct sports betting activities but have chosen not to permit the activity on a state level.
Oklahoma is one of the few states that has different age requirements based on the type of gambling that you are participating in. The general age for legal gambling in Oklahoma is 18-years old and permits residents to participate in the state lottery. Poker rooms and land-based casinos are where you may find variations. Depending on the establishment, you will either have to be at least 18-years old or 21-years old. One reason that a venue may require players be 21 or older is due to the presence of alcoholic beverages. Always verify the casino or poker room age requirements before traveling to the location.
Based upon the Oklahoma state and federal laws that we have discussed, it is safe for residents to participate in online gambling. On a federal level, the laws that apply to online gambling are applicable to gaming operators rather than casual players. While there is room for interpretation, the state laws in Oklahoma do not specifically mention the internet in any of its verbiages. It is also important to remember that when looking at both state and federal laws, the jurisdiction only extends to United States territories. The online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms recommended for OK residents are all based outside of the US.