The state of Oklahoma says the efforts of the federally recognized Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma to launch an online gambling site won’t be thwarted.
The state questioned whether the plan by the tribe headquartered in Perkins, Oklahoma to launch an online gambling site, PokerTribe.com, catering to customer outside of the U.S. fell within the parameters of their tribal-state gaming compact. In response, the tribe sued the state in federal court in December.
Arbitration was sought by the state to resolve the standoff, and it was ultimately decided that no federal or state laws would be violated and the venture falls under the Oklahoma Tribal-State Gaming Compact, as long as the online operations were located within tribal lands, according to Law360.com. The tribe that has approximately 800 enrolled members owns and operates a truck stop, smoke shop, gas station, an off-track wagering facility, a bingo hall, and the Cimarron Casino in Perkins.
The tribe wanted the arbitrator’s award certified and in December asked a U.S. District Court Judge in Oklahoma City to do so. A summary judgement was applied for by the tribe in February, and on Wednesday the federal judge handling the suit was told by the state that there was no reason why the arbitrator’s decision should not be certified.
A change in tribal leadership in February of 2014 led to a previous deal between the Concho-based Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and Florida software company Universal Entertainment Group for a similarly named pokertribes.com website being scraped. While it was previously determined that international gamblers were permitted by the two tribe’s website, the U.S. Interior Department tried to block Oklahoma’s agreement with the tribes saying it would be an amendment of the compact between them and the state. The decision was challenged by the two tribes in federal court, but after investing upwards of $9.4 million in the venture the lawsuit was dropped.
Meanwhile, the Iowa Tribe and Universal Entertainment Group signed an exclusive software leasing deal to get the Pokertribe website off the ground. Pokertribe.com, in addition to New Jersey and Nevada, will be available to the international market as well as to players who live in states where online gambling is legal, according to Isaias Almira, manager of Universal Entertainment Group. The website will also be available to players on some airline flights and cruise ships, said Almira.