Oklahoma Online Poker / Gambling Laws

Oklahoma Online Poker Laws
Are Poker Sites Legal in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma and online poker have more in common than alphabetic proximity.  The region has long been a proving ground for poker players, especially the road gamblers of the mid-1900s. 
Today's Oklahoma gamblers are still proving themselves at the tables, but most have swapped the long drives and backroom games for a simpler, safer proposition: Online poker.  Learn more about the ins and outs of online poker in the state with our Oklahoma Guide to Playing Poker Online.

Oklahoma and Online Poker

Pick: Best Online Poker Rooms in Oklahoma

Let's play some online poker - easy, right?  Except then you start trying to choose a site, and you notice that it's impossible to tell if they even take players from Oklahoma.  If you can figure that out, it's impossible to really know what the differences between two given sites are - after all, online poker sites are tough to tell apart.

When you don't know, you ask someone who has been there - and we've been there.  After thousands of hours at online poker tables, we know what poker rooms are best for Oklahomans, and we've collected them into a simple list:

Can Oklahoma Poker Players Play For Real Money Online?

Yes.  All of the sites on our picks for the best Oklahoma poker sites obviously accept players from Oklahoma (there wouldn't be much sense in putting them on the list if the opposite were true).  While we strongly suggest that players from Oklahoma choose one of our suggested sites, there are several sites that didn't make the list where poker-playing Oklahomans are also welcome.

Online Poker: Legal in Oklahoma?

You've likely come across other pages like ours that proclaim things like "online gambling is completely legal in Oklahoma."  Those pages aren't necessarily telling the absolute truth on the matter.  The fact is that gambling law in every US state - Oklahoma included - is a complicated thing that requires professional guidance.

That's why we don't pretend to offer an answer to the question of whether online poker is legal to play in Oklahoma.  Instead, we're going to provide you with some information that should serve as a starting point to finding an honest, accurate response to that query.  We'll start by listing some of the salient parts of Oklahoma gambling law, and then we'll give you more information about how you can review Oklahoma statutes personally.

  1. The definition of "bet" in Oklahoma law is unique in that it requires only the perception of chance on the part of one participant.  As found in Section 21-981(1): " A "bet" is a bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon chance, or in which one of the parties to the transaction has valid reason to believe that it is dependent upon chance, one stands to win or lose something of value specified in the agreement."
  2. The de facto definition for "gambling" is found in the charge of Opening, conducting or carrying on gambling game (Section 21-941): "Every person who opens, or causes to be opened, or who conducts, whether for hire or not, or carries on either poker, roulette, craps or any banking or percentage, or any gambling game played with dice, cards or any device, for money, checks, credits, or any representatives of value, or who either as owner or employee, whether for hire or not, deals for those engaged in any such game, shall be guilty of a felony"
  3. Oklahoma law reserves a lesser charge for those who are just playing in the game.  That's a misdemeanor, although by the letter of the law you could still spend up to 30 days in jail (Section 21-941).
  4. While that penalty sounds harsh, it pales in comparison to what Oklahoma has in store for those in the business of illegal gambling.  There are nearly a dozen unique charges surrounding such activity, with Commercial gambling (Section 21-982) carrying perhaps the biggest stick: a felony charge that could bring up to 10 years in jail.
  5. It's also a felony to spread "information to be used in making or settling bets" (Section 21-987), although the ultimate reach of this aspect of Oklahoma law in unclear.

To continue your research, here is a link to the online version [1]of the Oklahoma state statutes.

What About Regulating Online Poker in Oklahoma?

Anything's possible, but that one falls a little short of probable.  There are certainly some scenarios under which regulated online poker could emerge in Oklahoma, but they all require either incredible luck or external events to transition from hypothetical to actual.  Barring such a seismic break, online poker players in Oklahoma will probably be without state-blessed online poker for several years to come.

Oklahoma Gambling Facts

What are the Regulated Gambling Options in Oklahoma?

There is a surprising amount of regulated gambling available in Oklahoma.  Like nearly all US states, Oklahoma operates a state lottery.  Oklahoma is also home to pari-mutuel wagering, and tracks in the state are also allowed to offer players a limited selection of casino-type offerings.  If you're looking for a more Vegas-style gambling experience, there are a number of tribal casinos providing the full range of popular gaming choices.  Should your tastes run a bit tamer, the state's flourishing charitable bingo games provide a lower-stakes, more casual way to bet a few bucks.

What About Oklahoma-Regulated Online Gambling?

Add Oklahoma to the list of US states that do not license, oversee or otherwise regulate any forms of online gambling.  There are several forms of online gambling that do (or would potentially) comport with state law, but the Oklahoma state government has shown little interest of getting into the online gambling regulation game.

Recent News from Oklahoma's Gambling Industry

The big news in Oklahoma gambling circles right now is the massive expansion of the Choctaw Casino Resort [2], a project slated to generate hundreds of jobs and tens of millions in economic impact.  The state was also in the news for less positive reasons when Tulsa University Athletic Director Ross Parmley left his post [3] after being publicly connected to an FBI investigation involving sports betting.

Oklahoma Gambling Research: Reliable Sources

Choctaw Casinos [4].  Everything you need to know about the undisputed king of Oklahoma's gambling industry.  Operator of 8 in-state casinos, the Choctaw casino website provides access to information about all affiliated properties in one central location.

Oklahoma Gaming Compliance Unit [5].  Explore tribal gambling from the other side of the fence with this set of resources concerning the state's gambling compact with Oklahoma tribes.

OAPCG.org [6].  A 24-hour hotline, links to a variety of related sites and resources, direct access to counselors and information about the responsibilities of operators to combat problem gambling are all available at the website for the Oklahoma Association for Problem and Compulsive Gambling. 

Understanding Oklahoma's Place in Poker History

There must be something in the water down in Oklahoma.  How else to you explain the steadily remarkable stream of top-flight poker players coming from the state? 

We're talking about some of the biggest names of poker past, present and future here; start with "Oklahoma" Johnny Hale, who is always quick with an engaging story [7] from poker games gone by.  How about Bobby Baldwin, the man many believe to be largely responsible for the modern status of poker as a global game?  He hails from Tulsa, as does young poker gun Ben Lamb who made his mark with a deep, deep run in the 2011 WSOP Main Event.

Sources & Citations For This Article on Oklahoma Online Poker