- Jerry Bennett
You know, not every piece of legislation that the Republicans propose is a terrible idea.
House Bill 3008, sponsored by Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City, would add in-person sports betting to the gaming compact between the states and the tribes.
“Illegal sports betting occurs throughout Oklahoma, and figures I obtained from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation show 11 offenses recently with tens of thousands of dollars seized,” Luttrell wrote in a news release. “This reflects only a fraction of what actually occurs in our state. The Oxford Economics Group estimates that legal sports betting would generate $240 million in revenue for Oklahoma and create over 3,000 direct and indirect jobs. This legislation just makes sense.”
The major problem is that the bill is short-sighted. Instead of just allowing people to bet on sporting events, why not set up parimutuels for all of the other things that are worth a wager?
For example, I’m sure there would be plenty of people willing to put their money on a calendar date for things such as when schools will have to close due to an ever-worsening teacher shortage, due in no small part to the fact that our state has slashed education spending by nearly twice what any other state has during the past decade.
Someone could have made a killing on betting as to how much Stitt would cost the state in 2021 for his fruitless escalations against the tribes. Or about where and when the record would be shattered for new daily COVID-19 infections due to the business-as-usual non-intervention tactics of Lutrell’s party.
Either way, small government and religious objections are small hurdles for Republicans once they get a whiff of the estimated $240 million that legalized sports betting would bring to the state annually. And we all know there’s nothing Republican Jesus likes more than counting cash.