“Obviously we’re encouraged at the opportunity, but it’s very early right now.” -Muscogee (Creek) Nation Casinos CEO Pat Crofts
Jessica McBride/Managing Editor
Crofts says MCN at least a year away from offering sports betting
TULSA, Oklahoma — The U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion May 14, ruling Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act unconstitutional and paving the way for states to establish sports gambling.
PASPA made it illegal for a state to operate or authorize gambling on competitive sporting events.
‘Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not. PASPA “regulate[s] state governments’ regulations” of their citizens… The Constitution gives Congress no such power,’ Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s opinion of Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.
The court ruled 6-3 in favor of allowing states to establish sports betting, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting and Justice Stephen Breyer concurring in part and dissenting in part.
“Obviously we’re encouraged at the opportunity, but it’s very early right now,” Muscogee (Creek) Nation Casinos CEO Pat Crofts said. “We think certainly this will pave the way for responsible and legalized sports betting around the country and particularly in Oklahoma.”
Crofts said the Oklahoma legislature would have to establish a law and gaming compacts would need to be negotiated before sports betting would be a part of MCN casino offerings. He estimated the time frame to be 1-2 years.
He suggested MCN would partner with national and international organizations for sports betting such as daily fantasy sports betting.
“We’re probably a long ways away at this point,” he said.
Crofts said the financial impact to the Nation would depend on what sports betting laws Oklahoma passed.
“It’ll make money for the state, for education, money for the tribes, but gambling here in Oklahoma is primarily the electronic gaming machines, secondarily the card games… There’ll be some impact but it’s not going to change any of our lives permanently. It’ll be more of a better experience for our customer,” he said.
According to the MCN Executive Branch’s fiscal year 2018 second quarter report, an estimated $44.7 million in distributions were made back to the Nation from gaming for the first and second quarters of FY 2018.
According to the Oklahoma Gaming Compliance Unit FY 2017 annual report, the State of Oklahoma received $133.9 million in tribal gaming exclusivity fees for that year, $8.9 million of which came from MCN.
The monies are used for Oklahoma’s Education Reform Revolving Fund (1017 Fund), the General Revenue Fund and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
Crofts said space was not established in the recently redesigned River Spirit Casino Resort, but space would be made in the facility.
The State of Oklahoma recently passed a law legalizing dice and ball games, allowing casinos to offer craps and roulette.