Online gambling in Oklahoma

The State of Oklahoma makes it clear that playing at any unauthorized form of gambling is illegal and punishable with fines from $25-$100 and jail time of anywhere from one day to thirty days in a county jail.

Universal Citation: 21 OK Stat § 21-942 (2014)

Any person who bets or plays at any of said prohibited games, or who shall bet or play at any games whatsoever, for money, property, checks, credits or other representatives of value with cards, dice or any other device which may be adapted to or used in playing any game of chance or in which chance is a material element, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00), nor more than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of not less than one (1) day, nor more than thirty (30) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

The language of the law makes clear that online gambling is illegal because one could presume that a computer could constitute a device that can be, ‘Adapted,’ to be used for the purpose of playing a game of chance. For operators, penalties are much more severe and may include fines of $500-$2,000 as well as one to ten years of imprisonment:

21- 941 - Opening, conducting or carrying on gambling game - Dealing for those engaged in game.

Except as provided in the Oklahoma Charity Games Act, 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, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), nor more than Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00), and by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for a term of not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years.

However, the sentencing ranges for illegal slot machines are the same as the sentencing ranges for players who are gambling in an illegal way, which is actually pretty light at face.  

There are a number of other laws in the state that can act separately or in concord with the laws aforementioned and may carry with them different penalties, for a full list of the laws relevant in Oklahoma, this is a good source.

For the purpose of this writing, when it comes to acting as an operator, an entire page could be devoted to the laws of the State of Oklahoma as pertains to the different games that could be operated and different potential penalties associated therewith which go above and beyond the scope of this page which is really meant to be more of a summary.

The State of Oklahoma has been active in punishing offenders of its gambling laws including an arrest a few years ago of two people conducting an illegal poker game out of a bar in which a paltry $500 in cash was confiscated.

There was a case from last year in which four illegal slot machines and around $2,000 were confiscated from a convenience store.

In January of this year, six illegal machines were confiscated from a bowling alley in Oklahoma leading to a few arrests, including someone being arrested who was merely playing the devices.

We were also able to find an online gambling sting from a few years ago, but much like those in other states, it was an illegal bookmaking operation.

Ultimately, we can find no instance of mere players at online casinos being arrested for any reason, although, one should have some pause if one plans to gamble at any of the physical locations that are not authorized.  

Ultimately, we are going to have no choice but to categorize Oklahoma as Heavily Restrictive when it comes to online gambling because the law makes it clear that operators and players alike can be subject to charges. Fortunately, the sentencing guidelines for mere players are relatively weak, at least, as compared to those other states that could theoretically sentence individuals for playing within their borders. It is because of the soft sentencing that we are not going to rank Oklahoma as, ‘Banned,’ in terms of restrictiveness...even though it technically is.  

Furthermore, in defense of our ranking of, ‘Heavy,’ we do take note of the fact that mere players (at least one) have been arrested in connection with illegal gambling, although, that arrest occurred at a physical location.

FINAL RANKING: Heavily Restricted-19

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