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Oklahoma – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
The south-central state of Oklahoma is mostly known for the extensive prairies covering the Great Plains. You might however be surprised to know that it is the tornado capital of the US, seeing more than any other state. This has naturally made the state an attractive destination for thrillseekers different than the ones we are used to in gambling. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of gambling venues to be found throughout the state. Restrictions to gambling, like most other states, are primarily reserved for online activities. Although, that doesn’t stop Okies from being able to access online casinos operating from abroad.
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More information about Oklahoma – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
Oklahoma regulations restrict any online casino operation from opening its doors within the state. The government is unable to block overseas sites from being accessed by residents, however. This means that locals are still able to access these sites but without the protection of legal recourse or government oversight. It is therefore considered riskier for players of restricted markets to gamble online, as there is an increased chance to expose yourself to illegitimate operations. You should therefore ensure that you have some trusted sources to inform you of the legitimacy and value of a site and always double-check before committing any of your personal information or payment details to an organization.
- Is the casino licensed?
- What is the reputation of the licensing body?
- What do reviews say about the casino?
- Will you be able to take advantage of any loyalty programs?
- Will you be able to use your preferred payment methods?
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All forms of gambling were banned in Oklahoma back in 1916. It wasn’t until the gaming compacts were signed during the mid-90s that local Native American tribes were authorized to set up their own gambling operations. It started with bingo and lottery games primarily, but this was elevated in 2004 to allow for fully-fledged casino operations, which again was restricted to be operated by local tribes only. 2004 was also the year that the state-run lottery opened up its doors, which was quite a late arrival compared to most other states. Another factor to consider when gambling in the Sooner State is the commission required for each hand you are dealt. There is a $0.50 commission placed on all hands of Blackjack, for instance, meaning that your wager will need to be covered by an extra $0.50 that can essentially be seen as an entrance fee for the round.
Currently, there are no mentions of online casinos in Oklahoma’s state law and the activity is therefore considered a gray area for players. While there is nothing giving players legal validation to engage in online casinos, there appear to be no records of any Okie being prosecuted for gambling online. This combined with the ease of access to overseas sites means that there really is very little stopping people from playing, despite the current state of the law.
Those Oklahoma residents who already play online casinos are well aware of the many features present that directly benefit them. The majority of sites are primarily English-speaking with many of them also providing 24/7 customer support. Those that offer sports betting also tend to cover major US sports events, such as the Superbowl and NBA, as these matches are popular worldwide. You really wouldn’t think that online casinos are prohibited in the state just by looking at all of the sites available along with all of their features.
One of the main drawbacks that Oklahoma players will face, however, is the lack of promotions aimed at them. Sites will generally only target their promotional campaigns towards territories they are actually licensed in and will therefore avoid targeting any materials at those players that they don’t have authority to provide to in the first place. A good loyalty program that just rewards activity, no matter your location, is generally worth a lot more in this case.
US dollars are so prevalent in the online casino world that it can hardly be considered a localization feature. The currency instead fills the role of providing an alternative option for players whose currency can not be supported for one reason or another. This has been the case way before states like New Jersey began regulating the market, as the dollar has often served as an agreeable currency to use in international or online payments. The added benefit is also the fact that there are so many payment methods supporting US dollars as well. Visa, MasterCard, e-wallets and bank transfer options are all part of the standard selection of payment methods presented by the majority of online casinos. US players will therefore already find themselves in a comfortable position, despite their current legal situation.
There are around half a dozen tribally run land-based casinos throughout the state of Oklahoma, as well as hundreds of other gambling areas and sports betting venues. All of this appears to give an indication that many Okies are big fans of gambling and that the government is more than happy to facilitate this. It is however a different story when it comes to the online sector. A short gasp of hope was given in 2016 with the Iowa Tribe being given passive authorization to set up an online poker service. Unfortunately, this all fell through thanks to the poor showing of the web developers in charge of creating the platform. If that wasn’t bad enough, the state government also rejected a proposal for expanding the land-based sector, which they have a clear history of being much more supportive of than the online scene.
There is therefore little to no hope that regulations will be updated any time soon and in the meantime, Oklahoma residents will still be able to play away at overseas online casinos without their local government seeing any of the benefits.